Everyday life has been far from normal since the coronavirus was declared a national pandemic. This has had an impact on the mental wellness of many. As the number of new cases and mortality rates continued to rise, the government took action to protect its citizens and slow the spread. This meant requesting citizens remain at home (except for essential purposes), closing non-essential businesses and events, and implementing social distancing.
These changes resulted in a chain of events no one was readily prepared for. Millions of Americans lost their jobs (or had to adjust to working from home), essential workers were pushed to the front lines with no relief or protection, children had to obtain an education through virtual learning, and people have been socially isolated from friends and family. This has impacted the mental wellness of many.
How Do You Cope With All of This?
Remaining close to home, limiting your public exposure, wearing masks, washing your hands regularly, and practicing social distancing are all methods that can work to reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus, but no one tells you how to deal with the emotional aspect that impacts your mental wellness, which is equally important.
Tips for Improved Mental Health
Though it can be difficult to cope with all that’s going on in the country (and around the world) today, here are some simple solutions you can use to maintain mental wellness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Get Some Rest
Speaking of getting some sleep, it is imperative that you’re getting between 7 to 9 hours of rest every night. Yes, there is a lot to think about and a lot going on, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by staying up for days worrying. Without adequate sleep, you’re limiting your mental ability to handle the stress of living through a pandemic. You also weaken your immune system which puts you at greater risk of contracting the virus.
There are a few things you can do to get the right amount of sleep each night. Having a bedtime routine that allows you to naturally wind down from the day’s events can put you in a better position to rest. You should also create a comfortable sleep environment removing all distractions, making sure the room is the ideal temperature, and having comfortable bedding. If stress or anxiety keeps you up at night, there are resources like a YNM weighted blanket for couples which can help to soothe any anxiety.
Allow Yourself to Feel
There is nothing wrong with being fearful, angry, confused, sad, stressed, or even hopeless in these uncertain times. Give yourself to feel this way without guilt, shame, or embarrassment. Holding these overwhelming emotions inside only causes your body to remain in constant fight or flight mode which increases your blood pressure, weakens your immune system, and puts you at risk for a multitude of physical and emotional health problems (including the coronavirus).
If you find yourself feeling emotional throughout the day, let it out in a constructive way. Scream into a pillow or an open outdoor space, cry, sit and meditate, write in a journal, or share how you’re feeling with someone close to you.
Minimize Exposure to Pandemic-Related Content
Staying informed and up to date on the latest news and information regarding the coronavirus pandemic is essential, but that doesn’t have to mean you watch the news, scroll social media platforms, or listen to the radio all day long. Taking in negative information on a regular basis can evoke negative emotions. This, in turn, can lead to chronic stress and anxiety.
Minimize your exposure to pandemic-related content. Try to spend no more than an hour a day accessing information on the coronavirus. It is also ideal to refrain from listening to negative news or reading troubling content just before bed as this makes it difficult to get to sleep.
Your physical health is not the only thing that needs to be protected during the pandemic. It is equally important to ensure that you’re taking care of your emotional wellbeing. Though there’s no denying that these are trying and uncertain times, utilizing strategies like getting good rest, allowing yourself to feel, and minimizing your exposure to pandemic-related content can greatly improve your mental health giving you the fighting chance you need to survive.