May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a great time to spread awareness about mental health, especially as we collectively live through a global pandemic. A lot of people are dealing with stress and anxiety in a way that they never have before. There are fears about health, safety, jobs, finances, the list goes on and on. The CDC recently released a Public Service Announcement called “Be Kind to your Mind”, and it includes 5 tips to cope with stress during COVID-19. Today I’ll be sharing those tips with you.
- PAUSE. Breathe. Notice how you feel : We’re all caught up on the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We’re taking care of our families, working while homeschooling kids, caring for loved ones, or just trying to make it though the day. Make sure you are taking time to pause, breathe, and notice how you are feeling. Becoming aware on a regular basis of how you feel is a great first step in helping you improve your overall mental wellbeing.
- TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 content : This one is so important. I had trouble with this at the beginning of the pandemic. I was so dumbfounded by what was going on that I was glued to the TV watching the news at all times. After a few weeks of this, I noticed that it was starting to pull my mood down. It’s ok to stay informed but turning off the news and focusing on activities you enjoy is crucial.
- MAKE TIME to sleep and exercise : Lately our routines have all been thrown into a tizzy. No matter what your daily life used to look like, there is a good chance that it looks a lot different right now. Make sure you are taking care of the basics – getting enough sleep and exercise. Taking care of your body is the foundation of having a healthy mind. Also, exercise releases endorphins which promotes stress relief!
- REACH OUT to stay connected : Social distancing is very difficult because we are wired to be social beings. The quarantines, lock downs, and social restrictions can have us all feeling very isolated and disconnected. Now is a great time to set up zoom calls with friends, call family members you haven’t talked to in a while, and make sure you’re connecting with people on a regular basis, even if it looks different than it used to.
- SEEK HELP if overwhelmed or unsafe : These really are unprecedented times, and it’s perfectly normal if you are feeling overwhelmed by all of it. If it starts to become too much to handle, seek help. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member, a therapist, or a doctor. The CDC website also has hotlines that are available if it’s serious.
For more information on managing stress during COVID-19, you can visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html.