How to Mentally Survive COVID-19
COVID-19 has caused us to be socially isolated. Use these strategies to help keep your outlook healthy during the crisis.
Keep a Routine. Routine and structure really help to ground us and stop excessive procrastination. Find a routine that works best for you, including a weekday and weekend routine like you would under normal conditions.
Get Dressed. Getting dressed sets the tone for the day and gives us a sense of humanity. Respect yourself by taking care of yourself, your mind and mood will thank you for it later!
Be Physically Active and/or Go Outdoors.
If you’re not violating government guidelines, then go outside. Spring is here, so put on your outdoor gear for a walk. Move a bit every day; we know that exercise can have a positive effect on our mood and our physical health!
Tolerate Negative Emotions.
Practicing social distance has interrupted many lives. Many of us are going to experience loss and are likely to feel fear, anger, sadness and disappointment. Frustration and conflict may also occur as we live in confined spaces with family members. Let yourself feel those emotions, these are NORMAL responses to a difficult situation.
Practice Mindfulness. There are many free online resources to practice being in the present moment (checkout YouTube). For beginners try short 3 to 5-minute sessions every day with a voice you find soothing! Mindfulness is known for helping us psychological distance and regain a more balanced perspective. Stay Connected with Friends and Family.
Set up Skype dates where you can see each other’s facial expressions. Spread out your social contacts so you can feel connected a little bit each day. Take advantage of time at home to call friends with whom you normally wouldn’t have time to chat.
Reflect on Goals and/or Values.
Rarely, if ever in our lives, have we had so
much forced down time. You might ask yourself, what do you want your life to look like when we exit this? Perhaps, you want to change careers, be more family focused, get healthy. Now is a time to stop and reflect. Set Boundaries. This is the time to set expectations and boundaries with family and roommates (perhaps everyone gets to have a designated room that is theirs). Remember setting appropriate boundaries keeps everyone healthy. Over the long-term, setting boundaries within the home can prevent conflicts and save relationships.
Spend Time Alone. Take some time alone each day to recharge, reflect, read or exercise. It does not need to be several hours, even 15 minutes here and there can be beneficial. It will restore your patience and help maintain good family relationships. Just because you are quarantined with family does not mean you need to be in the same room 24hrs/7days per week!
Limit Media Use. Limit your viewing, choose reputable sources and stop when you have the information you need! If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, stressed or worried, this information is no longer of service to you and may be psychologically harmful.
Practice Gratitude. Practicing gratitude now sounds strange, doesn’t it? But let’s take an inventory of all the things that are going right in your life. Change the focus; practice looking for the good. Pick 3 things to be grateful for every day. Little by little you’ll notice your perspective shift.
Disclaimer: This document is for educational purposes and is not meant to treat or diagnose any psychological illness. If you are worried about your mental health or that of a loved one please contact your regional hospital or community helpline.