The spread of the coronavirus has changed life for practically every person in the country but in many different ways. Some people are more financially impacted by massive layoffs while others may feel more of an emotional impact from widespread stay-at-home orders. For those who already experience certain mental health conditions, the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting quarantine have amplified their struggles. Let’s take a look at how you can prioritize your mental health and continue to take good care of it during this health crisis.
You may have heard how important it is to check in with your friends and family during the coronavirus quarantine, but it is also important to continuously check in with yourself. Take a few moments every day to ask yourself how you are doing and determine what you need. Your needs could be simple, such as stepping outside to enjoy the sunshine for a few moments or taking a break from looking at a screen to read a book.
This ability to stop what you are doing, acknowledge your feelings, and address your needs can be especially helpful for people with depression or anxiety. Someone with anxiety may start fixating on things like the spread of germs during this pandemic. Americans get about one billion colds every year and research has shown that this novel coronavirus is more contagious than the average virus. If you take the time to check in with yourself and realize that you’re fixating on germ spread, you can decide to set aside time to sanitize the surfaces in your home or have your groceries delivered so that you know you won’t come in contact with the virus.
By taking these small moments, you can help fight feelings of being out of control or helpless. You can assure your mind that you can help yourself and make small changes to improve how you are feeling moment-to-moment.
It’s easy to turn to alcohol or drugs when you’re trying to cope with anxiety, fear, boredom, and social isolation. For people with an existing drug or alcohol addiction, this quarantine can make it very hard to resist returning to old habits. However, it is essential that you don’t. If you’ve been sober for a while, it’s easy to overdo it when you use drugs or alcohol again. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with over 52,000 lethal drug overdoses every year. Avoid becoming part of that statistic by staying sober during quarantine, no matter how difficult it is.
If you’ve been able to stay sober by sticking to a daily routine and attending support groups, don’t drop those habits just because quarantine orders have been put in place. Seek help online through groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. They’re offering online options for group support through video chat services like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Maintaining a daily routine as close to your regular one as possible will also help keep you from turning back to alcohol or drugs during these trying times.
Even if you don’t have a previous addiction to alcohol, it’s a good idea to limit your intake or eliminate it altogether during the quarantine. Not only has drinking alcohol been associated with an increased risk of infection and worst treatment outcomes, but it can also lead to dangerous results. Alcohol and other illicit drugs play a role in over 15,000 car injury deaths every year. You may not always make the best decisions when you drink alcohol and those decisions can put the lives of others at risk.
Exercise can benefit your physical health as well as your mental health. It releases pent-up energy, which a lot of people have because of quarantine, and it reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. For people who have mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression or who are recovering from addiction, exercise can be a great way to give your day more routine and distract your mind. Even though you may not be able to go to gyms or fitness centers like you did before the COVID-19 outbreak, there are plenty of exercises you can do in or around your home.
If you can safely go for walks or jogs in your neighborhood or at a nearby park while still maintain social distancing, try to do that regularly. It will feel good to get out of the house and move your muscles. If you must stay in your home or running just isn’t your preferred form of exercise, try doing yoga, dance, or bodyweight exercises inside. You can do them on your own or find workout videos online to follow along with. Many people are also providing classes online through Zoom or Google Hangout so that you can still experience the social aspect of exercising. Even exercising for a relatively short period of time will positively affect your mental and physical health.
If you’ve been struggling with your mental health during the COVID-19 quarantine, try out some of these tips. There are many other strategies as well, such as minimizing your news intake and staying connected with loved ones, that can work effectively. Try out different strategies and find ones that work best for you. Eventually, we will get this crisis under control. In the meantime, prioritize your mental health so that you can leave quarantine feeling relaxed and positive.
Tags: Alcoholics Anonymous, Check In, Comfy, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cozy, Exercise, Google Hangout, Jogs, LA Guestist, Los Angeles, Mental Health, Positivity, Quarantine, Sober, Walks, Zoom
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