Mental health has been an even wider topic of discussion in recent weeks, as the Coronavirus has continued to spread throughout the United States and the world. While millions struggle on a daily basis with their mental health, these numbers have, and will, only continue to increase as we maintain social distancing and quarantine. However, there are many things that you are able to do during this time that will help maintain strong mental health, as well as provide holistic treatment for those already struggling.
Take Care of Your Body
It is a well known fact that by taking care of your physical health, you are also taking care of your mental health! Especially in a time when we are required to spend most of the time in our homes, it is more important than ever to prioritize the care and wellbeing of our bodies. Make sure you are getting healthy, nutritious, and colorful meals. Get outdoors and go for a walk or a run - just make sure you keep that six foot distance from others doing the same! Let yourself use this time to catch up and get some good sleep in. And, as tempting as it may be, limit your alcohol intake. Each of these will not only help your body to stay healthy during this time by boosting your immune system, but will also help keep your mind healthy!
Spend Time in Nature
Recent studies have proved the long held belief that spending time outdoors is extremely important for your mental health. It has been shown that engaging with nature can decrease symptoms of depression, help with emotional regulation, reduces stress, improves memory and concentration, and increase problem-solving skills and creativity. And that’s just the psychological benefits - there are also numerous physical and spiritual benefits! Just because we need to be practicing social distancing does not mean that you can’t get outdoors into nature. Go for a walk in the woods or along the lake. As the weather gets nicer, plant a garden, feeling the soil with your own hands. You may even find yourself engaging in a deeper relationship with nature at this time!
Engaging in creative pursuits is not only a brilliant way to prevent the onset of mental health issues, but it is a very common form of treatment for mental illnesses! Practice your own art therapy at home by finding a creative outlet that you enjoy - whether it be painting, dancing, sewing, writing, or knitting. The world of creativity is endless! Allow yourself to express anything that you are feeling during this difficult time through art. You may be surprised at what healing may take place!
Start a Spiritual Practice
Just as taking care of our physical health is tied to our care of mental health, the same is true for spiritual health. No matter what religion you do or do not identify with, beginning a spiritual practice can have profound impacts on all areas of your wellbeing. Begin a daily meditation or yoga practice, which can easily be done from your home using videos or audio guides if desired. Engaging in a gratitude practice has been shown to increase happiness and joy in everyday life. Also by simply cleaning and creating a sacred space that feels right for you, you are able to connect to your spiritual side. Take the extra time in your day to begin or grow your spiritual practices!
Limit News Exposure
While most ways to maintain strong mental health during this time is to add or engage in things, it is equally important to disengage from other things. While it is critically important to stay informed, there is a fine line between taking in information and allowing yourself to be consumed by the news. Limit your exposure to the news by setting aside one or two times each day to intentionally check it. And even then, set a time limit for yourself. This will allow you to stay up to date on the need to know information, however will then give you time and space away from the news to take care of yourself.
Stay Connected with Others
One of the most important things during this time is to stay connected with your family and friends. While this is likely not able to happen physically, take the extra steps to stay connected through the use of technology. Check in with your loved ones, call a friend that you have not talked to in a while, spend an afternoon video chatting with your family. Even for those who may live alone, getting through the days of quarantine are made a lot easier when you have connected with the people that you care about most!
If you do find yourself struggling with mental health beyond what you are able to handle, please reach out to a clinical professional. Many counselors are currently providing online telemental health services during this time. Just because we are all at home does not mean that you need to walk through this time alone! Know when you need to reach out for help, and feel assured that many others are also struggling during this time - you are not alone!