Mental Health in the Age of Coronavirus
You can’t turn on the news or check social media without hearing the latest coronavirus updates, including the event cancellations and the rising death toll. As if that news was not stressful enough, there’s misinformation circulating, largely because there is not enough data yet to know for sure just what this virus will do. The ongoing threat, the fear, the uncertainty, and the lack of knowledge have created a perfect storm, heightening mental health issues such as anxiety, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Depression is also a very real concern. Calls for quarantines and reduced social contact can lead to social isolation, which can — in turn — contribute to feelings of disconnection, loneliness, and despair. Unfortunately, though, we may not have much of a choice if we want to contain the virus’ spread. So what can we do to mitigate the negative psychological impact of quarantine?
10 Tips for Dealing with Your Anxiety
Here are ten ways to make the most of your time at home:
1) Create a new daily routine. The structure of routines can feel very reassuring. Establishing a new normal at home — with several predictable touchpoints throughout the day — can help you to feel more comfortable.
2) Take advantage of the time at home to take on a special project, like organizing family photos or assembling your child’s old artwork and scanning it onto a thumbdrive.
3) Clear the dirty clothes off of your exercise bike or pop in an exercise DVD and get moving. Fear infuses our bodies with stress and often manifests as a desire to flee; exercise can satisfy this desire, while also giving us all of the usual benefits of working out. Exercise is a natural way to fight off the negative effects of anxiety.
4) Develop a healthy habit. With no need to run out of the time so fast every morning, you have the opportunity to turn a nice idea, like taking daily vitamins or starting the day with a meditation, into a habit.
5) Make regular online dates to keep in contact with friends and family.
6) Love on your pets because you finally have the time and because it’s a lovely, nurturing thing to do. The CDC suggests that pet ownership also has some pretty significant health benefits like reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
7) Cleanse thyself. If you have ever been curious about a cleanse but were leery of trying it during a workweek, quarantine might be an optimal time to try it. (Or commit to a new beauty routine that requires a daily investment of time.)
8) Try online counseling. You don’t have to skip out on getting support during this tough time. Nova Terra Therapy offers sessions online for Virginia residents, as do many other mental health practices. Check out onlinecounseling.com to find an online therapist who is licensed in your state.
9) Limit your news sources to one or two reliable, factual outlets such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the National Institute of Health (NIH). Sensational reporting can heighten anxiety.
10) Use your nervous energy to get organized. Decluttering can reduce anxiety and make you feel more in control of your environment. Plus your pantry, laundry room, garage, and closets will thank you!
We hope that you and your families are well. Stay informed, stay safe, and please reach out if we can help.