As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the country, many people are taking necessary precautions to protect their physical health by practicing social distancing. It’s equally important to take protective measures for your mental health at this time, as the uncertainty and fear around the spread of the disease has caused high levels of anxiety.
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, frustrated, disappointed, worried, or sad, it’s understandable if you’re struggling to care for yourself. Let us reassure you that your feelings are valid. We would also like to reassure you that what’s going on is temporary. With time, you will see your friends and family in person again and get back into a regular schedule. Things may be different, but eventually, there will be a “new normal.”
While we live through these uncertain times, you may find these tips helpful for promoting mental health.
Create a Routine
Whether you are working from home, coping with job loss, or your job has altered substantially from the pandemic, most people are experiencing a disruption to their lives at this time. When your daily life is disrupted, one of the most challenging parts is the lack of routine. Do your best to create a routine for yourself even if you don’t have much going on during the day. Wake up at the same time, shower and get dressed, and go for a walk or bike ride if you can. Whatever works for you, set up your day so you can experience some level of predictability during this uncertain time.
Separate Work Life From Home Life
If you’re working from home, you might be struggling to separate your work from your home life. It’s tempting to never really sign off, especially if you are feeling anxious and want to escape. However, working non-stop is not helping your mental health. Create a workspace for yourself that you can walk away from, and never work from bed, as this can disrupt your sleep. Keep good boundaries around the amount of time you spend on work versus relaxing, connecting with loved ones, and taking care of yourself.
Use Technology to Connect
The advantage of living through a pandemic in 2020 is that technology is advanced enough that it’s easier than ever to stay in touch. Use this technology to connect with your loved ones. Video chat allows you to be as close to spending time in person as possible while keeping a distance. Now is a good time to reach out to people you haven’t been able to keep in close touch with to catch up and reminisce.
Monitor Your Media Use
A difficult part of living through a pandemic in 2020 is a 24-hour news cycle. With social media, it can feel impossible to escape an onslaught of disheartening stories. Notice how this makes you feel. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be informed, but if you are feeling anxious or depressed from reading the news, keep boundaries around how often you check it.
It’s normal to be having a lot of feelings come up at this time. Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel a certain way. You also don’t need to be a whirlwind of productivity at this moment. All of the emotions that are coming up at this time are extremely draining. It’s okay if you need extra rest. Be very gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up won’t help you right now.
Find the Silver Linings
In a time like this, it’s easy to be consumed by feelings of anxiety and grief. While these are natural emotions to have at this time, it benefits your mental health to look for the positive in every situation, even if it’s small. For example, this could be a good time to slow down and reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.
Contact Us for Telehealth Counseling
If you’re struggling with your mental health during this time, you’re not alone. At New Transitions Counseling Center, we are offering telehealth sessions for our patients to ensure that in this trying time, they have access to the mental health services they need. Contact New Transitions Counseling Center for cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine.