The COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary changes that followed have been emotionally challenging for everyone to deal with. Yet, for someone who is already dealing with mental illness, current times only exacerbate overwhelming emotions and intensify triggers. From the fear of contracting the coronavirus and the stress of remaining indoors to the loneliness of social distancing and the financial challenges of being unemployed (or working fewer hours), there’s a lot rolling around in your mind.
With so much going on your mental illness could easily get out of control causing you to fall into an emotional rut. To prevent this from happening, it is important to know how to manage your mental health. Below are some suggestions:
If you were already involved with a program that offers help for women’s mental health (or men’s), continue seeking treatment. You don’t want to slow your recovery if you don’t have to. Therapists and rehab centers are considered essential establishments meaning many of them are still open for business. There is also the option to talk with a therapist by phone or video chat. If you haven’t been seeking therapy, but feel that your mental illness is getting worse during the coronavirus pandemic, reach out to an expert for assistance.
Be Aware of Triggers
Pay attention to what’s triggering you to become angry, anxious, sad, or overwhelmed so that you can reduce or eliminate these things from your life. For example, maybe watching the news about current events stresses you out. You don’t want to be completely out of the loop when it comes to the national pandemic, but you also don’t need to watch the news for several hours each day. Simply cut back on your TV time to reduce your anxiety, stress, or depression.
Find Healthy Ways to Cope
When your emotions are triggered it can be very easy to use negative outlets to cope. This, however, is only a temporary fix that can ultimately have even worse results. While you may not be able to hit the gym, go get a massage at the spa, or attend a group meeting, there are still things you can do to unwind and recharge. You could set up a home gym and workout in your basement, invest in personal massage equipment and give yourself an at-home spa day, read a book, meditate, or join an online support group.
Social distancing may be necessary for the time being to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but there are other ways to stay connected to friends and family. As isolating yourself can make your mental health problems worth, make a point of reaching out to the positive people in your life for mental rejuvenation. A simple phone call, text message, social media post, or video chat can go a long way to making you feel better.
Staying inside the house every day all day is enough to drive anyone crazy. Especially when this isn’t your norm. Though it is important to remain safe during the pandemic, you can get still get outside (as long as you’re not currently sick). Being in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and getting vitamin D from the sun work to boost your mood. Try to spend at least 15-30 minutes each day in the sun. You can lounge on your patio, take a walk around your neighborhood, ride a bike through the park, or get your sweat on by exercising outside.
Eat to Support Mental Health
What you eat, believe it or not, can have a lot to do with how you feel mentally. To manage your mental illness during the coronavirus pandemic, you should be consuming a diet that boosts your mood. This includes foods high in omega fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin D. A diet complete with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy would suffice.
Whether you’re currently struggling with chronic stress, anxiety, or depression, dealing with the current state of the nation and the impact it has had on your life can worsen your symptoms and undo any progress you’ve made towards improving your mental health. That’s why it is especially important to take steps such as those provided above to manage your mental illness and keep your spirits up during these trying times.