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Mental Health

8 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health During A Pandemic

With the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and health recommendations of staying at home and physical distancing, some people may be feeling disconnected and even depressed. Below is a list of a few things you can do to take care of your mental health during this stressful time.

Limit News Exposure

There is a fine line between being informed and causing more stress in your life. It’s a good idea to stay updated with what’s going on, but constant exposure to problems arising in the world (like COVID-19) can increase stress. News is often sensationalistic, which can give you a more negative impression of the world than is actually accurate. In addition to listening to reliable resources like the CDC, make sure you unplug so you don’t become overwhelmed. 

Exercise

There are hundreds of reasons to exercise and one of them is to maintain good mental health. Exercises can increase positive feelings and reduce feelings of depression. Carve out a room inside your house for yoga, take a jog outside—make your space your own mini gym. 

Stay Connected 

A better word for “social distancing” is “physical distancing”: you shouldn’t have to disconnect entirely from human contact! If you have internet and/or cellphone access, you can contact friends through phone calls, texts, Zoom, Skype, whatever you have at your arsenal. (You also may want to set boundaries on how much you discuss the virus so you don’t feel more overwhelmed). Technology is especially advantageous during this time.

Journal

Journaling can be beneficial; it gives you a safe, private outlet to express your feelings and can help you make sense of your emotions. A consequence of this is that you may find yourself discussing your anxiety more, which could increase anxiety, so take care to be mindful and realize what’s helpful for you.

Go Outside

Distancing yourself doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day. You can still go outside for a walk or run, or simply sit outside in nature by yourself. Being outside has loads of health benefits, and it’s nice to have a change of scenario to avoid a monotonous routine.

Eat Healthy

There’s a connection between eating healthy foods and maintaining good mental health. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are among some of the best foods to eat that not only boost your immune system but your mood. Grocery shopping can be harder with current shortages, so be sure to check out local food pantries. And don’t forget: canned vegetables, beans, and meat are always good options for eating healthy and allows you to stock up on food.

Find Old and New Hobbies

Now is as good as time as ever to start getting back into your favorite hobbies (and find new ones!) The beauty of YouTube and other online resources make it even easier to get back into an activity you used to enjoy.

Reach Out for Help

Even when you’re working to help yourself out you may find yourself still struggling. It’s okay and that’s why we have resources. There are resources you can reach online and/or through phone calls and text messages.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself during this trying time, and know that there is help available for you.

Fairley Lloyd is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a Certificate in Publishing. She is just learning about astrological signs but is 100% sure that she's an Aries. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, dancing, crafting, and doing anything creative.
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