Calmness Amidst Covid–19?
To say that the spread of the coronavirus is terrifying is a bit of an understatement to many. Changes to everyday life have been made that no one, not the old or young, have ever seen before. If you’re feeling off, scared, anxious, depressed, sad, or all of the above—that’s normal. These are confusing and unprecedented times. Maybe you’re not quite sure how you’re feeling at the moment because of the shock of it all. This blog is going to provide you with some tips to try to remain calm, healthy, and to keep your mental health afloat not only during quarantine, but beyond, because this virus will have a ripple effect of impact on all of our lives for the foreseeable future.
Practical Advice for managing quarantine information overload
There is so much information out there about the virus and whenever you turn on the tv, you’re likely to be bombarded with updates. The Internet can be a convenient place to get information, but the quality of that information can be questionable at times. There is a lot of back and forth fighting and blaming happening right now, especially on social media. Make sure that you are screening the information that you are consuming. A good trustworthy place to start is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. These are the scientists and doctors that focus their entire lives on preventing and treating diseases. Though some treatments have shown promise anecdotally, there are not currently any scientifically backed “cures” or vaccines for this virus. More clinical trials need to be run, which means it’s going to take some time for them to know how to fight and beat it.
Here are some practical tips so you can keep yourself and your family safe as well as do your part for society at large.
Dos and don’ts:
- Get your information from credible sources
- Don’t touch your face
- Frequently clean your space and sanitize after you interact with others
- DO NOT go to stores unless necessary (for food/medications)
- Wash your hands OFTEN
- DO NOT congregate at state parks in large groups or have indoor parties
- DO NOT take your children to the playground or on play dates
- Remember, even young people are not immune
- DO NOT go to get tested if you are not sick and showing symptoms of COVID–19
Mental Health Related Advice
It can seem a little maddening that everywhere you look you see media about the virus or someone brings it up in conversation. It can be hard to keep calm and try to go about business as usual (as usual as you can make it). If you are were already struggling with high stress, anxiety or depression before this, your emotions may be in overdrive right now. It is important to realize though, that even if you have never had any mental health struggles before, this current situation is more than enough of a reason to trigger them!
Being told you can’t work, go to school, spend time with friends, hug family, or go about your daily routines can have anyone feel like they are a prisoner of circumstance or walking through a fog.
Tips To Help Manage Mental Health Flareups During Quarantine
- Limit your focus on the virus
- Structure your day as best you can
- Eat healthy
- Move your body
- Do not over sleep
- Keep connected with others
- Do something you enjoy or have been putting off
Limit your focus on the virus
Checking the Internet or the news 50 times a day will unfortunately not make the quarantine end any faster. It may actually be detrimental to your mental health and inner peace. Try to set a designated time for checking the news. Do not let it be the first thing you do right when you wake up, as that will likely set a negative tone for your day. Feel free to gracefully bow out of conversations about the virus if you’re not feeling up to it. Be cautious with getting into any blaming type thought patterns or conversations. Right now, we are dealing with the problem at hand. Finding someone to be mad at may make you feel like you have more power or control but it is not helping anyone right now. If you are going to limit your exposure to coronavirus talk make sure that the time you are using is getting the real facts and focusing on what you can actively do or expect in the present.
Structure your day as best you can
Many people are either out of work or working from home during quarantine. Try not to let your daily schedule be completely lost. Do the things you would normally do, but from home and modify as necessary. If you are working from home, set your alarm, get your shower in the morning like normal. Set a specific place to work from. Set alerts to remind you to get up or move on to your next task. If you aren’t working; be careful not to treat this like a Christmas vacation; set times for productive tasks; reading, cleaning, exercising, cooking, etc. Try to follow these routines much like you would in a normal work week.
It may be hard to not be tempted by sweets and treats during times of stress, but try your best to select foods that nourish your body and won’t hit it with a sugar crash! This will help for you to maintain relative mood stability. When planning your trips to the store (or ordering online if you can), make sure to add unprocessed options. Fresh or frozen meats, vegetables and fruit can go a long way. You know all those meals you see other people make and have rolled your eyes thinking “it must be nice to have the time”? Guess what? Right now, you do! Take advantage of it to get into a new and healthier routine.
Move your body
Bodies in motion help keep minds healthy. If you weren’t engaging in a normal exercise routine, now is a great time to start! Hope on YouTube and search for beginner’s yoga or a beginner’s cardio video. Make a commitment to going on walks if you can. Take the clothes that are stacked on your treadmill off and USE IT! Lots of gyms are now doing virtual classes that you can login to on your cell phone. Reach out to a friend and Facetime your workouts together, having an accountability partner can not only reinforce your routine but also help you feel less isolated. Not much for exercise, picking one room to deeply clean each day or finishing a long-ago started project will also be great sources of movement.
Don’t over sleep
If you don’t have to get up to physically be anywhere, it may be tempting to stay in bed until one pm. One or two days of this is ok, but be wary of it becoming a habit because that can negatively influence your mental health and start you on the path toward a flare up if you already struggle with anxiety or depression. It can also totally wreck your sleep cycles for when the world goes back to normal and you head back to work. Along with this, as you are lying in bed at night, shut off the absent scrolling. Studies have shown that late night social media use (between 10 PM – 2 AM) INCREASE depression in adults. Just because you can’t sleep does not mean that it’s a great idea to pick up your phone. Try picking up a book, taking a 10 minute stretch around the house, making some chamomile tea, or turning on a medication (Headspace & Insight Timer are great apps for this).
Keep connected with others
TALK TO PEOPLE. Try you best to remain connected and avoid emotional isolation. Just because we are practicing social distancing does not mean we have to lose all of our connections with the people that matter in our lives. This means planning time to spend with friends. Set up virtual coffee dates on Zoom with your family, video chat with friends, pick a movie or show to watch with someone and both of you can start it at the same time; then you could either put the phone on speaker next to you to chat your way through it or call after and talk about what you thought. Keep your appointments with your doctors and therapist via telehealth. Share your thoughts and feelings with someone.
Do something you enjoy or have been putting off
Lastly, do something you enjoy. On Purpose. Nix the guilt over watching funny videos on the Internet, it’s ok!
- Maybe try something creative like painting, drawing, or writing.
- Make a video cataloging your thoughts to express yourself.
- Check out a new book or series.
- Make a new recipe.
- Watch some of the awesome musicals that are now online from high schools around the country as well as the hits from Broadway.
- Do a virtual tour of a museum.
- Also consider doing projects around the house that you have been neglecting.
You can always replace “God” with “the universe” or whatever feels right to you. The point is to soldier on, be patient with yourself and others, and recognize that powers greater than the individual are not blind to what is happening in the world today. If your faith involves connection and time with others, see how your church may be altering services online, read scriptures over the phone or virtually with a friend. Choose a devotional or medication practice to make part of your new normal.
Angelus Is Here For You
Mental health is so important and physical & mental health practices are so interrelated. Angelus is here for you during this scary time. Even though we cannot currently meet with you face-to-face like you may be used to or may prefer, our therapists are still meeting with clients over our telehealth system. We have transitioned to virtual sessions to help protect you and the community by slowing the potential spread of this virus. We have a secure HIPAA compliant telehealth software to conduct sessions with that is easy to use.
Schedule an appointment with an Angelus therapist today for extra support or to continue to work on and monitor your mental health. Check out our website to go through a tutorial on how to use our telehealth software. Remember, we are all in this together and Angelus’ therapists are continuing to provided needed services to current and new clients.