With the number of COVID-19 in the United States increased to alarmingly high levels, it’s difficult to predict what the future holds. For many people, this uncertainty can lead to a multitude of worries, issues, and concerns, some of which can potentially be devastating to mental health.
Without previous experience in coping with disruptions to “normal” life, here are some situations that can cause additional stress and anxiety in people of all ages and walks of life.
Disruptions To Routine – Whether we like it or not, following a routine helps create a feeling of stability in life. With COVID-19, people’s habits as they knew them suddenly came to a halt.
Unrelenting News Cycles – With a stay at home order in place, the news cycle turned into a focal point of many people’s attention. Not surprisingly, prolonged exposure to neverending ‘Breaking News’ can have a chilling effect on people’s mental health.
Financial Stress – Before the COVID-19 crisis, nearly 80% of all Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Many people were already struggling to make ends meet. Partial or full business shutdowns only add to this challenging situation.
Lack Of Physical Activity – To protect the population, many states ordered gyms, parks, and other centers for physical activities closed. While this decision isn’t entirely to blame for people not exercising during the pandemic, it certainly didn’t help.
A Feeling Of Helplessness – The COVID-19 crisis is a situation larger than everyone. It’s not surprising many people struggled with feeling helpless to control what was going on around them.
Loneliness – With social distancing recommendations in effect, and many places shut down to visitors and guests, many people have struggled with feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Tips For Staying Mentally Healthy During The Pandemic
While all of these scenarios are potentially problematic, here are some tips to help nurture your mental health during uncertain times.
Establish A New Routine And Follow It – While you might need to make some adjustments, work to establish a new routine, and then follow it. For instance, continue to maintain your work and personal hours.
If possible, planning your upcoming day is an ideal way to stay focused on tasks, and keeps you from putting a focus on upsetting news. Additionally, this routine helps to restore a much-needed feeling of control in your life.
Always be sure to get enough quality sleep, too!
Set Boundaries In Your Professional And Personal Life
If you’re working from home, set boundaries to create a division between your work and personal life. For instance, designate a workspace and dress for work during work hours. When the workday ends, change into your comfy clothes and log out for the day. It’s equally important to relax and recover to maintain high levels of productivity.
Self Care – Take advantage of this time to introduce self-care rituals that make you feel better and happier. While individual self-care routines may vary, this could include getting more exercise, embarking on a self-improvement initiative, improving your diet, picking up a new hobby, taking vitamins and supplements, and getting fresh air and Vitamin D.
The reassuring news is that at some point in time, the pandemic will end, restrictions will lift, and life will return to normal. Let’s work together to ensure we come out of the quarantine even stronger!