The coronavirus pandemic has put millions of people on edge. Many are struggling to adjust to their new normal, grieving the loss of a loved one, or fearful of what’s to come in the months and years ahead.
There’s no doubt that the last several months have been frightening and stressful. If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of the ongoing crisis, it’s important to learn how to cope so you can endure this challenging time. Here are some tips to help you manage your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
One way to reduce anxiety is to create a list of your worries. Spend 15 minutes reading over this list and thinking about these worries daily. After the 15 minutes is over, put the list away and carry on with the rest of your day. If your mind starts to wander back to a worry, remind yourself that there will be time to focus on these concerns again tomorrow. This exercise can help you manage excessive worrying so you can control your anxiety.
Take advantage of the extra time at home during the coronavirus crisis by reading self-help books. Studies have shown that reading these books can help decrease levels of depression after one year.
There are plenty of self-help books to choose from, so find one that speaks to you. Some authors choose to write about their own experiences overcoming depression, whereas others solely dispense advice to readers. Choose whichever style you prefer. Then, carve out time in your daily schedule to read and learn from your book.
Meditation is the practice of training your mind to become more aware and focused on the present. If practiced regularly, meditation can provide relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position in a quiet room. Close your eyes and breathe. Pay close attention to each inhale and exhale. If you start thinking about something else, pull your focus back to your breath. You can continue for as long as you would like. But if this is your first time, it may be beneficial start with a few minutes of meditation and slowly work your way up to longer sessions.
Sleep can calm your mind. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get enough sleep when they are experiencing depression and anxiety.
Make an effort to prioritize sleep during this stressful time. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, so you don’t disrupt your body’s internal clock. Fight the urge to take a midday nap, which can also throw off your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
You should also turn off the TV and put down your smartphone at least one to two hours before going to bed. The blue light from these devices can make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep. Following these simple suggestions can help you get the sleep you need to feel your best.
Don’t be afraid to seek help from a mental health professional if you are struggling to cope with depression or anxiety. Mental health professionals are always available to help — even during this unprecedented crisis.