For many of us, stress and anxiety are at record highs but one of the positive outcomes of this quarantine is the renewed conversations around mental health. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges that fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and can cause strong emotions in adults and children. Additionally, the isolation of social distancing may have a negative impact on our moods. If any of these thoughts or feelings have affected you, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
While we can’t change what is happening around us, we can try to manage our response to it and arm ourselves with techniques and tools to boost our mental health during this time. Here are a few ways to get started.
FIND ACTIVITIES YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT
You may be spending more time alone, have pent up energy that you’re unsure of what to do with and it might be causing your mind to wander…Instead of allowing a negative state to take hold, explore new activities that boost your mental health. Whether it’s learning a new skill for career development, diving into a new exercise routine or even taking time to read that book you’ve been meaning to dig into, it’s important for your mental health to spend your downtime in a way that makes you feel fulfilled.
MAKE TIME TO SOCIALIZE
Even though we may be on conference or video calls all day, life can sometimes feel isolating being at home all the time. Before the pandemic, we were already spending vast amounts of time on social media and the internet. Now that we are more isolated physically, it’s imperative to turn to real-life interactions for the sake of your mental health. This could be something as straightforward as calling a friend or family member, or something more involved like joining a virtual book club with a new group of friends or hosting a virtual game night. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you will help you fill your life with joy.
UNDERSTAND YOUR VIRTUAL WELLNESS OPTIONS
Sometimes it’s hard to tackle your wellness needs on your own, and with social distancing in effect, many physical settings are closed. But with more and more health and wellness apps out there, guided support and human interaction is just a phone screen tap away. Whether you’re are looking for help with stress, mindfulness, meditation or overcoming negativity, there is an app for that.
Instead of planning your next Happy Hour, maybe block time for an Appy Hour and focus on ways to improve your mental health!
UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS ALWAYS CHANGING
It’s important to remember that mental wellness is an ongoing process. It isn’t something you deal with once and then it’s gone for good. The state of your mind is something that’s constantly changing, and it’s okay for your feelings to shift back and forth between positivity and negativity. The key is to learn to recognize the signs of a decline in your mental state so you can fill your time with activities and thoughts that you know will help shift you back to a joyful state.
Remember, we won’t be asked to stay home forever. While it’s okay to feel a little stressed or anxious during this time of uncertainty, and when we understand patterns in ourselves, we can respond intentionally to a more positive mindset.