Caring For Your Mental Health During The Coronavirus Outbreak
Uncertainty has come in like a tsunami and has caused us to loose our balance or has knocked us off our feet completely, and we can find ourselves feeling like we are hanging on for dear life. It has wrecked havoc in our lives and disrupted our sense of normalcy and routine. This creates fear, stress, and anger. We like to have certainty, a sense of control a sense of knowing. The way we probably created that for ourselves has been challenged and taken away. So how do we regain our balance so we can cope with, persevere through and navigate this time of great uncertainty?
Here are 4 Tips:
Focus On What You Can Control:
Focusing on things we have no control over often causes anxiety. We can feel worried about COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) and how it will affect us and feel powerless about what to do. So, lets think about what you do have control over. You can wash your hands regularly, sanitized “high touch” areas in your home, practice social distancing, purchase a 2 weeks supply of food and other items you might need, and limit your media intake, since it often causes more anxiety than less.
Get Outside and Stay Active:
Go outside and take a walk or go for a run. Being outside and staying active does wonders for your mental health. Exercise has been show to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is a helpful way to get your mind off your worries, releases endorphins (which are the good-feeling chemicals our brain releases), and get more social interaction while still maintaining a healthy social distance. Even a smile or a hello can help elevate our mood.
Social Distancing does not mean social isolation. Find ways to stay connected with friends and family. We can utilize tech and video call or talk on the phone. It is important to keep up with our interactions, share about what we are going through and even have a good laugh. We can also meet up with a friend or neighbor to go for a walk together. Again this is a great way to stay active, stay connected while keeping a healthy social distance.
Stay in the Present:
Uncertainty turns quickly into anxiety when we begin worrying about the future, fearing what might happen, and focusing on the unknown. And sometimes it is exasperated by past events that have negatively impacted us that influence our thinking. However, if we learn to stay in the present, it can greatly reduce our anxiety and help us cope with uncertainty.
Try this exercise once a day:
Notice three things you can see. Try to visualize each thing in your mind. What does it look like? What color? What size? What texture?
Notice three things you can hear. Where is it coming from? How loud? What is it? Notice three things you can touch. What does it feel like? Where on your body do you feel it? Is it soft? Hard? Itchy? Smooth? This helps train your mind and refocus your mind on the here and now.
This exercise can be especially helpful and enjoyable outside on that walk!
Remember, you are not alone. If you feel you need additional support, this might be a great time to speak with a therapist. A lot of therapists offer video sessions. It can be very helpful to speak about your worries and what you are experiencing with someone who is trained to help.
Additional Support Lines: Contact The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.