Maintaining Mental Health During Crisis Mode
It’s OK to say that what we’re experiencing world-wide is not normal. It’s OK to be worried about the future. It’s OK to be anxious about what is happening. What we can’t do is let this pandemic take over our mental health and stability.
Disruption, uncertainty, isolation, fear. These are normal feelings you may be feeling. Totally normal and totally rational. Some people are wired to process these feelings easier and will easily find positive coping mechanisms, perhaps even gain some self-confidence. Others may not be as adept at handling the stress and need more guidance.
Maybe you are a parent trying to keep a brave face for your children, or a leader in an organization trying to reassure your peers and employees. We all need reminders of how to stay focused on the positive and, maybe most importantly, healthy.
We’ve put together a simple list of 5 suggestions for managing stress and mental health. These are by no means a replacement for professional help if you need it, but can perhaps give you a place to start if you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed.
5 Ways to Manage Stress
1) Turn Off the News
It’s a good idea to stay informed, but don’t let it consume your day. Choose one or two times a day to check the news. Turn off notifications on your phone, as they may distract you or cause unwanted stress. Tune in to reputable news sources when you do want to hear updates, but don’t watch for longer than it takes to get up to speed. Limit “news” on social media, as it may be false or sensationalized.
2) Make a New Daily Routine
In general, people like stability and routine. This pandemic has impacted nearly everyone on the planet. On. The. Planet. Our typical routines for work, school, shopping, cooking, exercise and more have all been interrupted. Create a new routine to build structure to your day. Maybe set an alarm to wake up, or an alarm to go to bed! Create working hours and studying hours. Developing a bedtime ritual is perhaps the most important, as sleep is extremely important in staying healthy.
3) Practice Healthy Habits
Being proactive in maintaining health is good for mind, body and soul. Creative healthy habits is an excellent idea for long term health, but staying physically healthy is going to be key in getting through this point in time. Take time to prepare healthy snacks and meals. While you’re stock piling toilet paper at the store, grab some fresh veggies, too! Make a consistent time to exercise each day, or take short breaks throughout the day to go for a quick walk or do some stretching. Try to sleep, or at least sleep well. Limit alcohol intake.
4) Stay Positive
Allow yourself time to be angry, but don’t let it linger. Counteract negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Contradict your negative self-talk. Some ways to do this are to journal, talk to friends or family to cheer you up, write down 1 or 2 positive things when you’re feeling down, or download a gratitude app!
5) Stay Connected
Last, but not least, be sure to stay connected to the people who a part of your regular life. Check-in regularly with family, friends or co-workers. Use any of the amazing programs available, like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. Or old-fashioned phone calls and letters! Having contact and sharing what you’re doing will create connections and hopefully diminish feelings of loneliness or sadness.
There will be a day when life will shift from pandemic to regular existence. Maybe you’ll learn new things about yourself during this time. Maybe you’ll have new hobbies or even new friends. There is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. You’ve got the whole globe in your shoes. Be kind, be positive, be safe.