There’s no doubt COVID-19 has changed our lives in ways none of us could have ever imagined just a few months ago. Our routines have changed, we’ve learned terms like social distance and self-isolate. As of May, 36.5 million Americans are out of work, injecting financial worry on top of worrying about getting the coronavirus.
All of this stress takes its toll on our mental health. And while it’s important to think about your physical health—wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, etc.—you can’t ignore your mental health either.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and it’s never been more important to have a ‘tackle box’ of ways to cope with all the curve balls life is throwing at us right now.
Stick to a routine. No matter what your situation—working from home, furloughed—it’s important to set a routine. Set your alarm and get up at the same time every morning, get dressed every day, stick to normal meal times, and set a regular time to go to bed.
Workout or stay active. If you have a regular exercise schedule, make sure you stick to it. If you didn’t exercise regularly, consider doing so now. There are plenty of apps—many that don’t require any equipment—to help guide you through an exercise program. If working out isn’t in the cards, do something as simple as taking a daily walk around your neighborhood.
Limit the news. While it’s important to stay informed, too much news can be overwhelming. Incorporate time for news each day into your routine. Watch, listen, or read the news once per day so you’re not overloaded with the latest headlines.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant, and if you’re already depressed, or feeling anxiety, drinking alcohol is only going to reinforce those feelings and make it harder for you to cope.
Stay connected to friends and family. Just because we’re being encouraged to social distance doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. There is an endless list of virtual meeting platforms—FaceTime, Skype, Zoom—and they’re not just for work. Schedule a virtual lunch or dinner with friends and family.
Reach out if you need help. Know that you are not alone, and there are resources available if you need support. As a member of Iron Road Healthcare, non-Medicare members can see a therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist through Doctor On Demand—right from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. To schedule an appointment, visit www.doctorondemand.com.