It’s been difficult to know how to start this post because it’s a weird time right now (“weird” being one of the biggest understated uses of a word that I’ve ever made). But social distancing and staying at home are becoming more and more imperative with each passing day, and with it comes the fear, panic and anxiety that’s unlike anything we’ve ever really dealt with. Since this is something that we’ll be facing for the foreseeable future, how do we adapt? What can we do to reduce some of the stress and calm ourselves down? Well, friends, I’m not an expert but I am here to help!
Mental Health and Staying Home
While I’ll continue to voice my opinions that mental illness should have less of a stigma, I will say that I’ve been very impressed with the number of resources I’ve seen that specifically address mental health in connection to COVID-19. Managing anxiety and stress is something that needs to be taken into account – the CDC has it prominently on their website – but I’ve also seen plenty of articles, blog posts and other resources that help individuals prepare for being in a more isolated state than usual (to say the least). This Healthline article, for instance, is something that was very helpful and informative, and able to share information without scaring people.
I also referred back to Yale Medicine’s post from ten days ago that has tips on managing anxiety during this period, and one of the things emphasized in the article was to find ways to manage your mental health in ways that work specifically for you. And this part is key and could be what gets you through these coming weeks or months.
Do What Works For You
When it comes to anxiety and depression, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that you become much stronger when you figure out what strategies work for you. Whether that’s what you eat, what you read, coping strategies, mental exercises or anything else, understanding which things help you combat your mental illness is essential for long-term success. And whether or not you have a mental health disorder, I think this approach can work when we’re staying at home for the foreseeable future.
Obviously, some strategies are more popular than others. My Five Ways to Manage Your Anxiety post mentions common strategies, but there is also an understanding that not all of these strategies might work for you. In fact, it might not be any of those things! And while we all have a lot of time on our hands, that also means we have time to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t.
When you’re trying to de-stress or calm yourself down, there are way more right ways than wrong ways that are effective. Maybe getting a Tik Tok account will help you join a new community. Others are doing pushups. Yoga, meditation and online workouts are popular, and virtual happy hours, game nights and parties are ways to curb that social interaction just a bit. But if none of these make you feel better, that’s totally okay. We’re in a unique situation where you need to do what will keep you safe and secure – physically and mentally. On Thursday, I’ll provide an even longer list of activities to do that will not only help you stay inside but could work to keep some of that stress and anxiety at bay. Stay safe, and #StayTheFHome.