Covid-19 has forced people across the world to completely up-end their traditional ways of life and embrace social distancing as the new norm. As the spread of this infectious disease continues to threaten global health, everyday routines have turned into dangerous sources of fear and anxiety. Even going to the grocery store is seen as a risky action that can negatively impact your health and threaten the safety of people you come into contact with. In addition to the anxiety associated with common tasks, simple acts like grabbing a bite with friends, seeing a movie, or sparking up conversation with strangers, have become luxuries of the past. Any activity that involves physical closeness has the potential to place vulnerable populations at risk, and thus should be limited as much as possible.
In order to save human lives, it is crucial that people stay at home and avoid public interactions. However, the sudden restrictions on physical closeness and general sentiment of global fear can seriously impact one’s mental health. Whether it be learning to navigate a shared space with others, or feeling lonely without friends/loved ones by your side, living in lockdown creates a series of mental health challenges that must be addressed. As we face the new realities of our daily lives, it is important that we open ourselves to new methods of sustaining our emotional well-being. These tips and resources will enable you to face the challenges of today’s world with a rejuvenated sense of self.
1. Place limits on your news exposure
Living in quarantine can aggravate your feelings of anxiety about the world, and your constant exposure to distressing news stories may only be making matters worse. The endless cycle of frightening media coverage related to COVID -19 can have consequences on your emotional well-being that remain long after you change the channel. Studies show that people who binge- watch negative news may suffer from mood disruptions, sleeping issues, and other serious symptoms that degrade their mental health.
While everyone should stay informed to a certain degree, it is equally important to take a break from the onslaught of distressing images and prioritize activities that bring you happiness. If you find yourself feeling depressed after your morning news ritual, try setting limitations on your news intake from this point forward. Turn off the television and read a book, journal your feelings, call a friend or try a new recipe. Replacing the news with activities you love can empower you with the physical and emotional strength to maintain a positive outlook on life.
2. Move your body
Staying active during stressful times can provide immediate benefits that start you on the path towards mental and physical wellness. Because physical activity sparks the body’s natural production of endorphins, studies show that exercising consistently can reduce feelings of anxiety and lift one’s overall mood. While your weekly gym routine may be on pause, there are many workouts that you can do with nothing more than some floor space, a water bottle, and a little motivation. The most important thing is to find an exercise activity that you genuinely enjoy doing, and that doesn’t add unnecessary stress to your life.
Whether it be following a yoga video online, jump-roping in your garage, or holding a plank on your bedroom floor, any form of exercise that involves moving your body serves as a natural stress reliever and mood booster. If the idea of a fitness regimen feels daunting and you don’t know where to start, this can also be a great opportunity to reach out to friends for inspiration. Along with gathering new workout ideas, you may find yourself a new fitness support system through which you embolden each other to work out regularly and feel better as a result.
3. Express yourself through journaling
Many people are struggling to deal with pent-up emotions that cause them to lash out at family and friends. While it is normal to feel irritable during these stressful times, journaling serves as an outlet that you can use to express your emotions in a productive way.
Instead of suppressing your negative impulses, take a few minutes during the day to write down any thought or feeling that comes to mind. Whether you’re writing about an enjoyable movie night with your family, or venting about a disagreement that took place between your partner, journaling may provide you with a natural stress release that revitalizes your social energy. Journaling about your experiences without judgment will empower you to manage your emotions more effectively, and approach your relationships through an empathetic lens.
4. Practice mindful eating habits
Due to heightened levels of stress, many of us are struggling to maintain healthy eating habits and feeling worse as a result. It is completely normal for you to experience disrupted eating patterns amidst a global crisis. You should never feel guilty or punish yourself for snacking more often, craving unhealthy foods, or straying from your wellness goals. At the same time, a healthy diet plays a crucial role in supporting your mental and physical well-being.
The practice of mindful eating represents a powerful tool that you can use to adopt healthier eating habits during these uncertain times. Eating mindfully involves slowing down, eliminating distractions, and paying attention to the taste and feel of each bite. Through becoming aware of the body’s responses to food, people who practice mindful eating can improve their capacity to recognize hunger cues and avoid over-eating at meals. Studies have also shown that mindful eating can reduce stress and anxiety, thus empowering you to embrace the day’s challenges with a calmer and more capable mindset.
5. Limit phone use before bedtime
Sleep is an essential function of the human body that enables us to live healthier and happier lives. In addition to repairing our bodies, sleep expands our memory capacity and strengthens our abilities to focus on tasks. A solid 8 hours of sleep also stabilizes our moods and helps us approach the day with a positive attitude. Yet in today’s world of Covid-19, you may be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety that prevent you from drifting off into a much-needed rest.
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy sleep cycle, try shutting off all cellular devices at least thirty minutes before you go to sleep. Studies show that iPhones and iPads emit bright light-emitting diodes that damage the body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone that orchestrates our sleep-wake cycles. Reducing your exposure to these devices will help your body undergo the natural processes that allow you to drift off peacefully without disruption.
6. Create new routines and stick to them
Along with setting limitations on phone use, planning a loose schedule around your daily life can also help you maintain a sense of control amidst uncertainty. Studies show that people who follow routines are more likely to sustain healthy habits over longer periods of time. In addition to solidifying healthy behaviors, routines also provide ways for people to stay focused on their goals, whatever those may be.
People who stick to daily routines feel more accomplished at the day’s end, which in turn can bring about positive feelings of self-efficacy. Not only do routines increase productivity, but they also push us to focus on tasks that momentarily distract us from external stressors. Whether it be eating breakfast and going on a short walk, or cleaning the house and calling a friend, following a schedule serves as a valuable reminder that you still retain power over your personal behavior. Adopt a routine, stick to it, and feel yourself strengthening your internal well-being.
7. Meditate for a few minutes everyday
During a global crisis such as Covid-10, it is normal to feel overwhelmed with thoughts about our current situation. At the same time, constantly agonizing over the state of the world can lead to greater levels of stress and anxiety. If unaddressed, these symptoms may have serious consequences on your mental and physical health.
Meditation represents a powerful way for people to address their anxiety levels head on, and approach their days with more calmness and clarity. While there are many different types of meditation, the majority of these practices involve sitting or walking in a peaceful place, and focusing your attention on the present moment. Beginners can start off by sitting cross-legged in a quiet room and concentrating on the feel of their chest as it rises and falls with each breath. Even if you can only commit to a few minutes at a time, meditating can help you manage your negative emotions, lower your stress responses, and face the day with a new sense of inner-peace.
8. Nurture your connections with loved ones
In order to flatten the curve, it is crucial that every person practices socially distancing. However, staying at home and avoiding human interactions may cause you to feel increasingly isolated and depressed. To combat these feelings and prioritize your well-being, it is important to stay connected to people that bring positivity into your life.
Call your friends on a regular basis and ask about their lives. Text your family members in the morning to check in on how they’re doing. Schedule a zoom happy hour with co-workers and virtually share a glass of wine. Whatever your preferred method of communication may be, seeking meaningful connections with people you care about can reduce feelings of loneliness and enrich your emotional well-being.
Now more than ever, it is necessary that we prioritize our mental wellness by cultivating habits that bring us comfort, stability and joy. However, if you or a loved one is experiencing severe mental health symptoms that seriously impact your quality of life, in-home mental health services can provide additional support that will facilitate your family on the path towards healing.
At Centric Healthcare, our highly trained specialists, doctors, and nurses provide around-the-clock health services to all patients in need. At the same time, we also understand that physical conditions or illnesses can cause people to feel depressed, anxious, and helpless towards their situations. The mental distress that patients undergo when dealing with physical symptoms has a direct link to their overall wellness. In recognizing the importance of supporting the whole patient, we are dedicated to providing in-home mental health services that lessen the emotional suffering of all figures involved. For adults with qualifying medical conditions, we offer a wide range of treatment options and recovery plans that meet the specific needs of each individual.
Qualifying mental health conditions include but are not limited to:
- Major depression
- Borderline personality disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Schizophrenia disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Whether it be short term or long-term care, our mental health providers bring comprehensive recovery plans and treatment options to the comforting environment of your home. Among the many services that we provide, our mental health aids work to evaluate each patient’s responses to current medications and facilitate changes to make sure their specific needs are met. In addition, our mental health therapists can help you and your loved ones develop positive coping mechanisms that address the emotional side of physical suffering. Through a variety of therapeutic techniques, our highly trained providers help each patient work through their negative feelings in ways that reduce their stress levels and enrich their perspectives on life.
At Centric Health Care, we recognize the relationship between the emotional state of the individual and the mental well-being of the family unit. In turn, we are committed to not only preventing hospitalization by strengthening your loved one’s health, but also involving the entire family at every step in the process. If you are looking to provide comprehensive support for a loved one suffering from mental illness, please contact us as soon as you can. Our mental-health services will help your family on the road to recovery by addressing your needs with empathy, compassion, and endless support.