During the past few weeks, we have been thrown into unprecedented times with the arrival of Covid-19 in the United States. Most of us will be spending much of the spring season in quarantine, working from home, and homeschooling kids. In addition to the sudden change in routine, many of us are also experiencing stress from the economy and worrying about our loved ones’ health.
• Worrying about our health and our family’s health
• Worrying over finances
• Having kids at home
• Changes in sleep and eating
• Feelings of isolation
• Increased substance abuse
It is important to practice self-care during stressful times.
Try some of these ideas that may curb stress and promote overall well-being.
1. Take breaks from the news. Now, it is important to stay informed, especially in times of uncertainty. However, when we are constantly seeing and hearing negative messages and sad stories, it can take a toll on us mentally and emotionally. Try limiting time spent watching the news to just a few minutes per day to stay informed without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Take breaks from social media. During a quarantine, it is easy to feel isolated and turn to social media for a sense of community. However, social media is also flooded with sad stories and even inaccurate information about Covid-19. Limiting social media to just a few minutes a day, or even taking breaks from it for entire days, may help manage stress and anxiety.
3. Take care of your body. It sounds cliché, but we really should eat right and exercise. Eat foods that are filling, as well as nourishing. Activities like yoga or Zumba can promote the production of endorphins (the stress-reducing hormone!) to benefit physical and mental health.
4. Revisit an old hobby. Many of us have activities that we enjoyed before our lives were so busy. Quarantine may be a good time to take up a hobby that we have not had time to enjoy in a while. Pull out the paint brushes, tennis rackets, knitting needles – whatever brings you joy – and set aside some time to decompress with that hobby.
5. Connect with others. This may seem contradictory to our advice on limiting social media, but we are referring to the old-fashioned ways of connecting – by phone, or even mail! Try picking up the phone and checking on loved ones individually. Ask an elderly friend or relative to tell you stories about when they were younger, make cards for the sick, or write letters to soldiers overseas.
6. Go outside! Take advantage of nice weather to go on a walk or hike (of course, while adhering to social distancing guidelines). Vitamin D and fresh air are good for the body and spirit!
It is important that anyone with a preexisting mental health condition continue with their normal treatment, including taking medications, while also watching out for any new or worsening symptoms. Visit SAMHSA for more information.
CONTENT PROVIDED BY: Rachel Green, Home and Community-Based Early Intervention