It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for many of us. We’ve been thrown into unfamiliar territory and have encountered new challenges to overcome. Changes in work or school arrangements, as well as more frequent exposure to negative or frightening news, can have a negative effect on our mental health. To combat stress, anxiety and fear, we all need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. In this blog, we’ve put together a list of scientifically supported strategies to take care of our mental health during these challenging times.
Meditation and mindfulness are, according to mental health experts, some of the best ways to keep negative thoughts at bay. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more people are turning to meditation apps and online videos to help them cope with the stress brought about by this pandemic. Taking a break for a few minutes, or even just 15 seconds, to meditate, reflect and ground yourself will help you de-stress, and set you up for success for the rest of your day.
2. Phone a Friend
In difficult times, staying connected with your community and support network is more important than ever. Being isolated can be a lonely experience, especially if you live by yourself. Loneliness has negative effects on both physical and mental health – being isolated is associated with higher risks of heart disease, as well as mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Keep yourself connected by reaching out to friends and family at least once every day. Thankfully, the power of technology has made keeping in touch with loved ones a whole lot easier, even when we are separated by distance. If in-person conversation isn’t an option for you, pick up the phone and make a phone or video call. Your loved ones will likely be feeling the effects of being socially isolated as well, and will be grateful for your support and listening ear.
3. Get Creative
There’s a very good reason why music and art therapy are such effective ways to de-stress. Whether you’re the next Picasso or prefer a good stick figure drawing, getting creative has a positive long-term effect on mental health. Music, art, and other creative outlets are great ways for us to express our emotions without using words, as well as process our emotions. Creativity can also help treat mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. If creativity isn’t your strong suit, don’t let that stop you! Being creative isn’t about the quality of the end product – it’s about the positive experience you have making something that is uniquely yours. So, get those creative juices flowing and make something amazing!
4. Start a Garden
Horticultural therapy is an ancient practice that has provided mental health benefits to people for thousands of years. It’s still a popular and effective form of therapy today! Studies have shown that spending just two hours a week tending to and caring for plants in your garden can positively impact your mental health. Gardening is also a great excuse to leave your quarantine cave and get some much-needed Vitamin D. On top of all this, creating a garden will give you an opportunity to grow your own food, so you might even save yourself some money and a few trips to the grocery store!
5. Stay Active
Getting 30 minutes of exercise every day is always recommended by health professionals. In our current climate, keeping your body active is especially vital for our physical and mental well-being. Physical activity increases the level of endorphins and serotonin in our body, which makes us feel happier and less stressed. It also helps us think clearly by pumping blood to the brain, which helps us to be more productive. Whether you take a virtual exercise class, do some yoga, or take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood, being active regularly and consistency has great mental health benefits in both the short and long term.
We hope this blog has provided you with some practical advice about managing your mental health during these unprecedented times.
The Careerline Courses team wishes you and your loved ones good health. 🙂