Physical distancing, isolation measures, and the closure of schools and workplaces affect what we love to do, where we want to go, and who we want to be with.
It’s normal for us to feel a spike in stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness during this unsettling time. It is important for us to acknowledge what we are feeling and what we are experiencing, in order to find ways to cope with the present situation. While we can’t control the external circumstances happening right now, we can learn to cultivate healthy habits that help us feel more in control of our personal well-being.
For many of us, when our routines are disrupted, we also stop doing the activities that keep us emotionally and physically healthy. By finding ways to manage our stress and anxiety, we can take care of our mental health during this pandemic as well as into the future.
Think about what has worked for you in the past to manage your stress and anxiety or consider trying some of the following strategies and ideas. Try a mindfulness practice as this has been proven to lower stress and strengthen the immune system. Exercising daily and getting outside in nature also helps to lower stress and anxiety. Yoga is widely known for reducing stress and anxiety by calming the nervous system. There are a variety of different kinds of yoga available online, such as Hatha, Yin, Restorative or try Cosmic yoga with your kids. Regardless of the type of yoga you choose, it’s numerous physical and psychological benefits can make it an important part of your mental health toolbox.
If you’ve wanted to challenge yourself and learn something new, now’s the time! Every day there seems to be more online resources available to support you during physical distancing. Open university is offering 1000 free courses, which you can start at any time. Try online trivia nights or get creative and try a virtual paint-night.
We can also engage in activities that don’t require a screen, such as reading, taking a bath, planting a garden, playing a board game, cooking a new recipe, or listening to music. If you are finding it difficult to fall asleep at night because your thoughts are all over the place, journaling before bed is a way to release and express your thoughts, feeling and emotions. Research shows that writing for 15 minutes, three to five times a week can significantly improve your mental health.
Not having our regular routine unsettles us all. Everyone is talking about the pandemic, how can we not when its all around us? While it is important for us to stay educated and informed, too much information about the pandemic can lead to an increase in panic and anxiety. Find a balance, stay tuned in, but know when to take breaks and unplug from the news.
If you are feeling like you could use a little extra support right now, I am here to help (virtually) and I have opened up a bunch of extra time slots on my calendar over the next several weeks to provide support.