Tips for maintaining your mental health during COVID-19 pandemic
Almost everyone has experienced some sense of loss or grieving during the pandemic.
It could be losing a loved one, losing a job, or just mourning the loss of the way life used to be.
Grief can be overwhelming and unexpected endings can cause strong negative emotions. Mental health experts say it’s important to keep the following things in mind:
- Acknowledge the feelings of loss without judgment, allow yourself to feel sad.
- Stay connected and talk to friends and family — call, video chat or meet outside with precautions
- Journaling can also help express feelings
- Create a new routine. Be sure to include exercise, hobbies and sleep.
- If you’re struggling, reach out to a mental health professional for help.
It’s been said getting through the pandemic is a marathon and not a sprint, which means it’s vital to build resilience.
Resilience is the ability to adapt during stressful situations. It’s also a way to prevent stress from negatively affecting your health.
So how do you build resilience?
First, focus on what you can control. For many that includes healthy habits, you can eat healthier, exercise, take time to relax and breath.
Second, try to find the silver linings. Maybe that’s having more time with family or more time to pursue a passion outside of work.
Third, think of strategies to embrace change and adapt to new circumstances.
Having resilience doesn’t mean you won’t feel anger or fear, you can acknowledge how you’re feeling but choose to respond with an optimistic outlook.
Almost everyone is feeling a little extra stress and anxiety during this time.
Behavioral health expert Doctor Stuart Lustig developed a 4-step plan that can help you manage stress better.
- A period of time to unwind
- The name of someone to talk to
Another way to help calm your nerves is called square breathing.
Here’s how it works: Breathe in through your nose slowly for a count of 4, hold your breath 4 counts, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of 4, pause for another count of 4.
The beauty of this exercise is it can be done anywhere and works almost immediately to lower stress and help you re-set.