So much has shifted and changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During these past several months, nearly everyone has been affected in some way and many are experiencing mood changes, irritability, anger, anxiety, fear and depression.
Even though times are challenging, there are steps you can take to feel better. Here are nine tips to take care of your mental health during the pandemic. View slideshow.
Maintain a routine
During COVID-19, there are many things you can’t control. This makes it even more important to control the things you can. This may include waking up at the same time every day, getting dressed and eating dinner together as a family – anything that can help restore a sense of normalcy to your everyday life.
Pay attention to how you’re feeling
You may have noticed different emotions tend to come in waves. You may start out feeling fine but feel irritable or anxious moments later. Take care to recognize what you’re feeling and experiencing. Then make small adjustments to attend to your needs.
Take a break from the news
While it’s good to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world, reading or watching too many news stories can lead to depression and anxiety. The same goes for social media. Taking regular breaks from both can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
Start or end your day with meditation
Taking time for yourself – even just five or ten minutes – can make all the difference in how you approach your day. If you don’t have time in the morning, try ending your day with a bit of meditation. It can clear your mind and help you relax before you go to bed.
Improve your general health
This includes getting regular exercise, eating healthy meals and snacks and sleeping seven to nine hours every night.
Find ways to connect with loved ones
Although you may not be able to see your loved ones in person, you can still find ways to connect. Try meeting virtually for a happy hour or game night. If you can do so safely, you might also meet up for a socially distanced outdoor walk or coffee break.
Find ways to do the things you love most
The pandemic is all about making pivots. This includes finding new ways to continue to do the things you love most. For example, if you love going to the gym for group exercise classes, try doing a virtual group workout. If your monthly book club bring you joy, get together virtually to discuss your latest read.
Try new coping methods
Doing the things you love most is comforting. But this is also a great time to try something new. For example, teach yourself to play a musical instrument or learn a new language. Finding something you can put your energy into will help you feel a sense of control and you’ll also feel good about learning something new.
Be patient with yourself and others
Everyone has been affected in different ways. It’s important to recognize that and be patient with yourself and others. Some days you might feel irritable or sad. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Realize you’re doing your best to make your way through and move forward from there. Extend kindness to others and to yourself.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers resources to help
Linden Oaks Behavioral Health offers a 24-hour call line for people to get an assessment, referral or more information about behavioral health conditions. We also offer in-patient, outpatient and virtual counseling services. To learn more, request an assessment online or call 630-305-5027.630-305-5027.