The recent COVID-19 outbreak is extremely frightening and unlike anything we have ever experienced before. As such, it can be difficult to maintain a positive state of mind when what is happening globally is so far beyond our control. For those who already suffer from a mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression or OCD, this situation can prove even more testing.
Read on for tips on how to look after your mental health during the current health crisis:
1) Check reliable sources
It is easy to get sucked into reading headlines and become obsessed with checking your phone for updates. However, you must be aware of how to distinguish rumour from fact. Instead of Twitter, check the NHS or WHO websites for updates. Having access to quality information will make you feel more in control of your own mental and physical health. The correct information will allow you to be better equipped to protect yourself and your family.
Providing you follow the recommended advice of washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and keeping at least a 2-metre distance between yourself and others – and are following government regulations regarding staying indoors – you’re doing everything in your power to protect yourself.
2) Try to stay connected
When experiencing extreme stress, it’s important to stay in close contact with friends and family via social media and telephone, especially if you’re living alone. Everyone is in the same boat, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re struggling to cope. While there’s not much to look forward to in lockdown, it would be a good idea to set up regular phone or video calls with loved ones, to give yourself a focus during the week.
3) Seek professional help
If you are dealing with an existing mental health condition, the additional worry of the coronavirus outbreak may be too much to handle alone. If you feel as though your mental health is spiralling, it may be worth contacting a mental health expert to give you the adequate support you need. Enquiring about inpatient mental health treatment may be the best option for you, since you may still be suffering from the after-effects of the situation in some form even when life gets back to normal.
Finding the motivation to get active is easier said than done when you’re feeling depressed or anxious, but taking just a few minutes out of your day to keep fit can work wonders for your mental health. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which can boost your mood and stimulate a newfound sense of energy. Exercising at home is simpler than you may think.
You could research online workout videos or simply incorporate physical activity into your everyday routine. There are various ways you can do this, including:
- Vacuuming and cleaning your home
- Running up and down the stairs
- Dancing to your favourite songs
5) Keep your mind occupied
Having to adjust to a slower pace of life isn’t easy if you’re used to a busy lifestyle; therefore, you must try and find ways to keep your mind occupied when you’re feeling low. Check out just a few ideas below:
- Sewing or knitting
- Reading books
- Listening to podcasts
- Watching films or documentaries
- Downloading apps to learn a new language/skill