There’s no denying that life during COVID-19 quarantine has been a strain on mental wellness for most of us. No matter your situation - whether you’re single, a couple, a family or caring for a friend or family member - staying mentally healthy and strong takes more effort these days.
It’s more important than ever to take steps to ensure a sense of stability and balance in your life during this time. Here are some suggestions on how to beat the blues, feel good about yourself, and stay motivated and positive.
take a break from the news
The 24-hour news cycle is not something you want to have playing in the background constantly. While it is important to stay tuned in to a reliable news source to keep track of what’s happening in the world around you, checking the news more than once or twice a day has been found to raise anxiety and stress levels. Taking a break from the barrage of information will help you contextualize and prioritize what you need to know.
stay socially connected
Whether it’s through phone calls, video chats or social networks, it’s important to find ways to connect with others. Chatting with others, sharing experiences, and having social interaction, even from afar, is a great way to boost your mood and reduce stress.
During times of stress and isolation, it has been shown that people tend to have issues with sleep and memory, which contribute to a feeling of unease, anxiety and stress. Getting regular exercise is an important way to combat these issues. Whether it’s a full-body exercise, an online yoga class, running or just a walk around the block, getting your body moving will pay off for your mental as well as physical health.
Brain healthy foods are a great way to support a positive outlook and mood. It is tempting to turn solely to comfort foods during this time. While there is absolutely a place for that, it is also important to maintain healthy habits to keep you feeling level and nourish your brain.
Giving your time in the service of others has always been a great way to feel a sense of purpose and increase feelings of personal satisfaction and happiness. Volunteering during COVID-19 can take many forms. You can explore formal volunteering through virtual or in-person opportunities. Or, you can help out by giving back through small acts of kindness such as getting groceries for a neighbour or calling seniors in your area to check in on them. All of these activities will give you a cause to rally around, help identify a community of peers, and beat feelings of loneliness and helplessness during this difficult time.
With so much uncertainty and stress all around us, it is important to take some time each day to ensure you are caring for yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Accept that things aren’t normal and perfect - and that’s okay. Being kind to ourselves and others is a key way that we will get through this, together.