Take Extra Care of your Mental Health During COVID-19

You're preoccupied and having difficulty focusing. Your sleep isn't great. And you aren't eating as well as you know you should, or as well as you do normally.

You’re probably stressed out by COVID-19.

It's perfectly understandable to be anxious during a situation like the one the world is in right now. But chronic stress isn't good for your body or mind. It’s important to take the time and follow the steps to help ease the pressure you’re feeling.

Recognize the Signs of Stress

How do you know if your mental health is suffering during this pandemic? The signs of stress are not always obvious; they may include:

  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Changes in your eating patterns.
  • A worsening of chronic health problems.
  • A worsening of depression or other mental health conditions.
  • A rise in your use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
  • Fearful thoughts about your health, and the health of your family and friends.

Take Positive Steps to Feel Better

Health experts offer the following tips for coping with these stressful times:

  • Stay active, and go outside when possible. Exercise is a great way to improve both mental and physical health. Learn more about how you can stay active while social distancing, here.
  • Check in with family and friends. Call or have a video chat with your friends and family. Virtually meet up with friends, family, or coworkers using free group meeting apps.
  • Become familiar with the facts. In a situation like this, false information can spread quickly. Learn more about the virus from reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Knowledge can ease anxiety, and help identify fact from fiction.
  • Wean yourself off constant news. This can be as easy as turning off the TV. You also may want to disable your phone's news alerts, or unfollowing certain social media accounts for a while (you can always turn notifications back on, or re-follow accounts later).
  • Practice mindfulness. Be in the moment, rather than worrying about what will be coming next. If you begin to feel too anxious, take some deep breaths. Concentrate on your breathing, and try to accept the moment.
  • Keep to healthy daily routines as much as you can. Whatever you normally do for self-care, keep up with those habits. Same with your daily schedule. While most of our schedules have changed in some way, we may be able to replicate a version of our normal schedules during this pandemic. Keep a routine can help you feel more in control.
  • Put free time to good use. Use your time to do things that you enjoy, or to accomplish things that you want to complete. Listen to an audiobook while you draw or paint. Plan your summer garden. Start a new hobby.
  • Celebrate small wins. Keep track of moments of gratitude and joy. If it helps, write them down to remind yourself later. Or if possible, take a picture.

Coping During COVID-19

Bassett Healthcare Network's behavioral and mental health professionals discuss the challenges and provide important and useful information to help you cope:

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