Practicing Mental Hygiene During COVID-19Lindsay Chambers
Everyone copes with stress differently, but there’s no doubt we’re living through a uniquely traumatic time in our lives. Worrying about what can happen in this rapidly changing world can be overwhelming. Social distancing measures, while necessary to avoid spreading the coronavirus, can make people feel isolated and worsen existing mental health conditions. What are some ways you can practice better mental hygiene during COVID-19?
1. Know How to Recognize Coronavirus Symptoms
If your chief concern has been you or someone in your family contracting the virus, it may help ease your mind to learn how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 – which can manifest in a variety of ways – and know what to do if you get sick. Contact your doctor and get an official diagnosis before you try to treat coronavirus at home using over-the-counter medications.
2. Try a Stress Reset
Chronic worry can stand between you and your ability to regulate your emotions effectively. Instead of trying to manage anxiety and uncertainty with short-term fixes like using food or drugs to self-medicate, learn strategies that will empower you. Next time you feel your stress spiraling out of control, try these techniques.
- Anchor yourself: Mindfulness is a powerful remedy against anxiety because it helps you recognize when you’re dwelling in negativity. One way to be in the moment is to physically anchor yourself in your surroundings. Look around you. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 technique for quelling anxiety.
- Take a deep breath: If there’s too much going on at once, slow things down with deep breathing techniques. Take slow, deep breaths from your belly, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Repeat this exercise until you feel the tension melt away.
- Listen to calming music: Music can help reduce stress without drugs. Take a few minutes to listen to a soothing instrumental or a song you find comforting.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
We’re all going through unprecedented challenges. Whether you’re coping with the loss of a job, missing familiar rituals like gatherings with friends and family or feeling frustrated with people who aren’t being as careful as you are, it’s OK to take a break for self-care. Resting and recharging so you’re able to maintain a sense of internal peace amid the chaos is essential.
4. Check in With Your Feelings
Sit down and check in on yourself. How do you feel? Is your heart rate elevated? Are you holding tension anywhere in your neck, shoulders, back or jaw? Listen to your body. Give yourself permission to feel sad or angry, if those are the emotions you need to express in that moment. Trying to push away feelings will only make you more anxious in the long run.
Always Here When You Need Us
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on people with existing mental health conditions. If you’re struggling more than usual or feeling particularly vulnerable, Serene Behavioral Health can help. We are available 24/7 to help those who need it most, with four treatment programs to meet your unique needs. Please contact us today for a brighter tomorrow.