How to Make Room for Your Mental Health During Times of Uncertainty
posted on May 5, 2020 | by Alyssa Abel
It’s no secret that many of us are struggling with uncertainty, unhappiness, or unrest right now.
Many of us have had to put personal plans on hold, adjust to a new working routine, or even adjust to being without employment. We can’t go out to our favorite restaurants, blow off steam with a day out and about, or even be sure of our summer plans. We’re unable to visit loved ones or hang out with friends.
We might have taken them for granted before, but those activities, routines, and relationships make a substantial difference to our mental health. Plus, the current news cycle isn’t exactly heartwarming—which doesn’t help whatsoever.
Fortunately, we can stay uplifted by taking time to care for ourselves. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s a look at how to manage self-care for better mental health during coronavirus.
We Can Thrive, Even When We’re Apart
Before you browse any suggestions, it’s essential to remember that you’re not alone. This sentiment may seem overly cheesy or even untrue, but it’s not! Almost everyone has endured anxiety or fear because of this situation. Although these experiences aren’t easy, we can work together to overcome them. If you already grapple with mental health issues, several resources can help.
Here are a few ideas on how to take care of your mental health through COVID-19.
1. Avoid Negative News
While it’s essential to stay informed, negative news can cause a lot of problems. In fact, around 63 percent of Americans say that at some point, they’ve felt stressed out due to worries about our future. Therefore, do your best to stay away from social media and news articles as much as possible. If you can’t refrain, turn off any notifications you receive instead.
Feel free to keep updated with local and state mandates, but try not to go overboard. Allow yourself to check for essential news once a day for a specific amount of time—like 10 minutes in the morning—and then keep your distance.
2. Establish a Sleep Pattern
If you transitioned to remote work or school from a more active physical routine, your circadian rhythm likely took a hit. When there’s no reason to leave home or keep schedules, we can fall asleep at midnight and wake up at 1 p.m. without any repercussions—right? Wrong. Actually, sleep deprivation poorly affects mental health, so it’s necessary to figure out a better sleep pattern.
It’s best to start out slowly. Many mental health issues impact our ability to fall asleep soundly, so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t adapt immediately. Every day, try to make small adjustments. Try taking a bath, trying a guided meditation, drinking some warm tea, or following another relaxing routine to get your body primed to wind down.
3. Spend Some Time Outdoors
Just like irregular sleep patterns, spending too much time cooped up indoors can have a negative impact on your state of mind.
Depending on whether you live in the city, the country or the suburbs, you might be used to a more fast-paced or peaceful lifestyle—but no matter where you are, you can make time to breathe some fresh air. Take an hour or two to take a socially distant walk around your neighborhood, do some gardening in your front yard, or escape onto your balcony. Quiet your thoughts, smell the changing season, and listen to the sounds around you. A little sunlight and the smell of spring can do wonders for your mood.
4. Make Time for Virtual Hangs
Close interactions can’t happen at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your friends and family. The 21st century has blessed us with technology, so there’s a ton of ways to stay connected. Whether you want to say hello to your grandma before bed or eat dinner with your long-distance partner, it’s possible! Ask everyone to download the same platform so that you don’t encounter difficulties.
Then, schedule a time to talk and laugh every week. You could put together a virtual dinner party or host an online board game competition. Either way, you can forget about your anxiety and stress for an hour or two. As long as we continue to communicate, we’ll make it through this time.
5. Consult Online Resources
Sometimes, it’s okay to realize when we need a little more help managing our mental health. You may not be able to visit your therapist, but you can consult different online resources—such as the crisis text line, teletherapy apps like Talkspace, and social media support groups. You could reach out to a trusted friend, too, but it’s essential to talk with an expert if you want to address deeper problems.
Don’t feel ashamed to take advantage of these kinds of tools. They’re there for you to use! Right now, we can all use a little help. Try not to push away your emotions, either. It’s important to share whatever’s on your mind so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Use These Ideas for Self-Care During Coronavirus
When it comes to taking care of your mental health, little things like staying connected, quieting negative thoughts, and establishing a sleep routine can go a long way—and taking time to talk through your emotions is often helpful. Remember to make room for your mental health this May—and always.