Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19
Mental health is a part of being human. Everyone has it. Some days you may feel well and others days you may not feel well. During times of uncertainty, and high stress it becomes incredibly important to care for yourself and manage your mental health. Please know that if you struggle with chronic depression or anxiety, medication may be necessary and that is okay. Talk to your doctor if you feel your anxiety and/or depression is keeping you from doing things that you enjoy. If you have thoughts of suicide, please call 911 or reach out to someone you trust.
6 ways to improve mental health
Talk to family and friends. We are all confronting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) together. If you are struggling, don't feel like you have to hold the burden yourself. Talk to someone you trust and share your thoughts, worries and fears. Leaning on your support system can ease the stress and anxiety surrounding uncertain situations, like COVID-19.
Limit news consumption. Seeing constant news coverage of COVID-19 on your TV, phone and social media can be upsetting and overwhelming. Designate a limited amount of time each day to read updates and watch the news, avoiding consuming any news at least an hour before bed. (Getting updates right before you go to bed can make it harder to fall asleep, and the light that TVs, phones and other devices with screens emit can keep you up.)
Stay informed with facts. When you do consume news, be sure the information is from credible, factual sources. Knowing the facts can help you feel more in control and less anxious. You can get updates from Gundersen here. The CDC also is a trusted source. If your main method of getting news is social media, be wary of rumors and misleading information.
Self-care. It's more important now than ever to take care of yourself. Try to make time every day for you to do something that you love, even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes. Read, take a hot shower, play with your kids, walk your dog, meditate—do anything that brings you joy.
Be kind to your body. Try to eat healthy, exercise regularly and prioritize sleep. Nourishing your body can help you feel good physically and mentally. It's also helpful to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can alter your mood and cause you to feel more anxious.
Feel your emotions. Had a challenging day and feel especially stressed or anxious? You're not alone. Take time to process how you're feeling and express yourself. Cry, yell or write down your worries—whatever you need to do to safely release the energy that is building up inside of you. The key is to not let your negative emotions linger too long. Let them out, then let them go.
Get help if you need it. These are trying times. If you find that fear, stress or anxiety is interfering with your life and preventing you from doing your daily tasks, contact a professional for help. Your primary care provider is a good place to start. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, reach out to someone you trust or call 911.