In the midst of the current pandemic, it is just as crucial to make your mental health a priority as it is to care for your physical health. If you are experiencing some of the signs of increasing stress, it may be time to consider taking extra steps to help strengthen your mental health. It’s important to recognize that there may be several different signs of increased stress, such as:
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
- Fear or worry about your own health and the health of your loves ones
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following tried-and-true anxiety prevention and reduction strategies to better care for your mental health:
- Get plenty of sleep, eat well-balanced meals and exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Get moving—one of the best ways to relax a worried brain and activate
a sense of calm.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Spend time in nature.
- Take breaks from watching, listening to, and reading stories about COVID-19.
- Unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade.
- Find new activities that you might enjoy to support a sense of normalcy.
- Be diligent about re-directing your thoughts from stress and fear toward
health and togetherness, even virtually.
- Share your concerns with others and how you are feeling with a friend or family member.
- Maintain healthy relationships.
- Create virtual relationships (reach out to friends on Facebook or through FaceTime; send a text to those with whom you haven’t spoken in a while
and/or call a loved one).
- Take an active role in keeping all household members as healthy and positive
as possible during this time of uncertainty.
- Employ relaxation techniques when stressed, such as deep breathing (inhale deeply, exhale slowly), stretching and meditation.
- Remember … the more you fret, the worse you feel.
- Exercise more.
- If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety that interfere with work, close relationships, socializing, or taking care of yourself and others, you may consider talking to a professional counselor.