Anxiety, Uncertainty, Depression, Grief, Stress over the unknown-all of these emotions may be showing up for you ever since the COVID-19 crisis began. Maybe you were already having some difficulty with coping before the pandemic, and now you’re REALLY struggling. The good news? Help is still readily available!
Online Counseling, also known as Telemental Health, while not new, is certainly having a moment now. With most of the Nation in quarantine, most Mental Health professionals, including myself, have moved to providing Online Therapy. This means that you still can see a Therapist to help you navigate these difficult times, all from the comfort of your home.
In the meantime, here are 5 quick tips to help you cope during COVID:
- Breathe: Breathing helps to calm anxiety and regulate the body’s nervous system, which can trigger a relaxation response. A good way to start breathing properly is to sit up straight, and breathe deeply from your diaphragm, inhaling to the count of 5. Hold your breath for one count, then slowly exhale your breath to the count of 5. Practice this for about 5 minutes at a time to start.
- Be aware of your diet: Not just the food and drink you are taking into your body, but also the news, images, and thoughts you allow in. It’s easy to overload your senses with a constant news stream or overdo it with social media while at home. Decide to only check the news once per day, and only use trusted news sources. Be mindful about who and what you follow on social media, and the impact on your mental health.
- Keep a schedule: As much as you can, try to stick to a “normal” schedule. This means if your usual sleep schedule is 10pm-6am, do your best to keep those hours. Same for meals. It can be tempting to snack all day while you’re at home and then forgo a real meal, but your body and mind will appreciate the consistency.
- Connect with others: We are so lucky to live in a time with fairly easy access to technology. Use it to your advantage! Reach out via phone call or Facetime/Zoom/Houseparty to stay connected with Family and Friends. If you have neighbors, utilize social distancing for a block party or just weekly hang out time. As mentioned above, if you are struggling with your mental health, reach out to a professional.
- Rest: This doesn’t have to be the time to learn a new language, or reorganize your whole house, no matter what the Bloggers on social media are trying to tell you. Do what you feel capable of doing. Realize that this can be a stressful and traumatic time, so honor what your body and mind need right now.
If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We will get through this together.