10 Tips and Tools to Support Mental Health During Coronavirus
The world is focused on physical health due to Coronavirus, but many are forgetting one important element of our overall health: the brain. Maintaining good mental health throughout this Coronavirus pandemic is becoming increasingly important. People are facing weeks or months without seeing loved ones, participating in beloved activities, or even leaving the house. For some, the stress may become too much to bear. It is important to hear from experts about tips and tools you can use to strengthen your mental health. Peter Betz, MD Medical Director for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Centra, shared his top 10 tips and tools to support ourselves and our loved ones.
10 Tips and Tools
1. “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands” – This is a fun quote to keep in mind throughout this pandemic. This quote highlights the practical side of maintaining physical health by washing our hands and follow social distancing, but also reminds us how we need to be mindful of our emotional status.
2. Try to get a Media Break – Social media and mainstream news sources all display such an intense and negative experience. While this information may be true, we need a break from the adrenaline-fueled headlines to put things in perspective. Take a break from the news or determine set days or times where you will seek your news.
3. Recognize negative emotions – anxiety, worry, grief, depression, anger. Negative emotions are all normal parts of life but are exacerbated by these stressors. Recognizing these emotions is the first step to come to terms with them. Try to write down these emotions as you feel them and think about what causes them. This might help you realize what the triggers and signs are.
4. Take care of your body. First off, this means eating well. We cannot just eat processed foods for comfort or convenience. Rely on quality foods like veggies and fruits and well-prepared foods. This will help our bodies, brains, and mental health.
5. Watch your sleep pattern. Good quality sleep improves well-being and mental health. This is not relying on medications to sleep, but reassessing and recreating your sleep pattern. We can train our bodies to sleep well just as we can train our bodies to run.
6. Exercise. Moving your body, increasing your heart rate, and breaking a sweat is a powerful way to improve wellness and rejuvenate your body and mind.
7. Get Outside. Enjoy nature and watch spring blossom. We can easily overlook the beauty of the world around us. Walk, jog, bike, garden, or find any way to get your heart rate up while enjoying the outside world.
8. Learn something new. Try a new skill, task, or hobby. Teach yourself a new recipe, how to garden, car mechanics, languages, a new board game, a new craft. This keeps your brain sharp and your mind engaged.
9. Connect with others. While maintaining social distancing, there are still many options to connect with people. You can connect on social media, through virtual games, or activities over the phone like chess, book club, or chatting with friends. Find unique ways to be together.
10. Stress can be healthy. As much as we focus on trying to live stress-free, stress can have some benefit on the brain. We may end up with healthier brains as we learn how to manage stress and put it in perspective.