As we all struggle to adapt to the “new normal” of our COVID-19 world, it becomes more important than ever to touch base with how we ourselves are emotionally handling the turmoil that is affecting our daily lives.
The usual professional advice of exercise, eating healthy and getting enough sleep still stands, but does bear repeating. But what else is needed and what can we do to stay well emotionally? Humans are naturally social creatures and distancing is not an easy adaptation. Feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety can play havoc with our emotions.
One thought comforts us: Everyone is affected by this. We all are dealing with a situation that is foreign to us. We all are struggling to balance our everyday lives with this “new normal.”
What can you do?
- Take a break from the hyperbolic media coverage. When you do check in, use credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control or your local and state agencies. Obsessive news consumption can be detrimental to mental health.
- Now is a good time to revisit your hobbies or take up a new one.
- Reach out to friends and family. Today we have the benefit of FaceTime and other social media methods that can be morale boosters.
- Feeling some temporary anxiety? Recognize it for what it is and that it will pass. If you can, meditate or close your eyes and calm your mind.
- Gratitude helps ground us. Reflect on the joys and blessings in your life.
- Go for a walk, get some fresh air or go for a short drive to clear your mind.
- Practice home exercise, possibly following along with a trainer on YouTube.
Dr. Rene Fernandez has the following suggestion: “Spend time thinking about what you find enjoyable and/or meaningful, and then look for creative and safe ways to pursue those activities. Modern technology allows us to keep conversations open with all those we care about, so talk to family and friends daily – stay connected. The sound of the human voice is often far more expressive and comforting than social media.”
If you experience uncontrolled feelings of anxiety or depression, contact your primary care physician or talk to a mental health professional. Many therapists are now offering telehealth services.