During the coronavirus crisis, another health crisis is emerging. For many people, mental health is a struggle in the age of social isolation. Telehealth services offering psychological care have been skyrocketing in popularity while suicide rates among medical workers have increased around the nation. For both those in isolation and those risking their health on the front lines of the crisis in hospitals and essential businesses, anxiety and depression are likely effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
If you’re struggling to stay positive, motivated, and hopeful in current conditions, take a moment to recognize that you aren’t alone. You can also use the following strategies to remain in tune with your mental health.
Maintain personal connections
Face to face contact with loved ones is something many of us are craving, but it’s now harder to achieve it safely. However, it’s still important to make an effort. Continue calling your loved ones to check in, host video calls with your friends, or send handwritten letters to an old pal. Finding small ways to keep personal connections and social interactions in your life will take focus away from feelings of loneliness in isolation.
Spend time doing something meaningful
It’s easy to focus only on bad news in times of crisis, but this will merely continue to feed anxiety and depression. Instead, invest your mental energy into meaningful activities that help you feel good. Meaningful doesn’t have to mean big. Simple activities like baking a cake, cleaning the house, reorganizing your bedroom, or tending to an herb garden can help you feel more productive and positive. If you’re not in a creative mood or you haven’t quite found the motivation for a new project, try watching a funny movie or calling a friend. Spending time laughing and distracting yourself from bad news can help re-energize your mind and body.
Don’t avoid your personal care
Finding yourself skipping showers, living in your sweatpants, or binging on junk food isn’t out of the ordinary in these tough times. Still, you should keep a routine with your personal care, since this will help you gain a sense of normalcy. You may also need a little help getting there. If it’s simply a challenge to get out of bed, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help. Even if your therapist does not offer online services—or if you’ve never seen a therapist at all—you can find help utilizing telepsychiatry and online therapy.
Donate to those in need if you can
Doing good for others can help you feel good about yourself. You may not be able to get out and volunteer, but you might find that donating to local charities can give you a mental boost knowing that you’re doing something good for your community. If you don’t have spare funds to donate, there are still small ways you might give back. Offer to do the grocery shopping for your elderly neighbor, drop off a few rolls of toilet paper at another house on your street, or put a message of positivity on a lawn sign outside your house.
Go outside (while keeping your distance)
Taking a walk, riding your bike, or going out for a jog are all simple ways to tend to your mental health. These activities not only help you get moving, but they will bring you outside to enjoy some sunlight and hints of nature. Even if you live in a crowded cityscape, seeing the sky and getting a little sunlight will help you feel like you’ve recharged your batteries.
At MeMD, we understand that the coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone in unique and challenging ways. That’s why we are here for you with the urgent care and behavioral health services you need, all from the convenient space of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.