People may be more likely to experience feelings of stress, depression, or confusion during a crisis like a pandemic. The anxiety and fear that’s rife in the world today can be overwhelming, as necessary precautions such as social distancing and working from home can leave people feeling even more lonely and isolated. At this time, don’t forget about good mental health, as isolation and change from your normal routine can increase problems2.
Make time to unwind.
Take some time for yourself, away from work and chores, to keep a good balance in your life2 with these tips:
• Keep to your regular schedule as much as possible. Create a specific space for each family member to work or learn, and create time for periodic breaks away from work or school to refresh3.
• The basics of good health can’t be overlooked. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep, and avoid excessive alcohol and drug use4,5.
• Stay active with exercise: Exercise is good for your physical and mental health. Something as simple as walking, stretching and basic calisthenics can relieve stress and release endorphins, the “feel good” brain chemicals. Many gyms, which may be closed, are offering live streaming of classes, so check their websites to see what’s available6.
• Connect with family and friends with technology: Stay linked with family, friends, and support systems using technology such as video-based services7. You can also use “old fashioned” technology like phone calls. Use your support network, including faith-based or spiritual support organizations, to share your concerns and fears8.
• Get outside and enjoy the cooler fall weather and the lovely scenery of the changing trees. Hiking, walking and biking this time of year can be a rewarding and refreshing experience.
• Limit media consumption: Continuously watching or reading the news, whether traditional media or social media, can increase stress, anxiety or depression. Take a break from the constant barrage of bad or “scary” news, and stay up to date with limited media sources you trust9.
• Keep up with hobbies and use relaxation methods: Participate in undertakings that benefit your well-being and distract you from problems. Activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxing music can be found online, often at a reduced rate or free. Other techniques such as writing in a journal, reading, or craft projects, activities that you enjoyed before or may be new to you, can all be beneficial10.
• Monitor any new or worsening symptoms. Engage in various fun and relaxing activities to keep your stress and anxiety low, and remember that this time is difficult for everyone. Remember that your reactions are normal during such a difficult time11.
• Finally, don’t forget to reach out to your healthcare provider if stress or depression is getting in the way of your daily life and well-being. There are a number of services available if you feel the need for professional assistance12.
1, 3, 6, 7, 9-11. http://workplacementalhealth.org/Employer-Resources/Working-Remotely-During-COVID-19
2, 4, 8. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fmanaging-stress-anxiety.html
5, 12. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html