The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and not just physically. Taking care of your mental health is important too, especially because no one knows when the crisis will end. The GOV.UK website shares this guidance on staying balanced during these uncertain times:
- Maintain a schedule of regular exercise. Take a walk or a bike ride now that communities have started to open up. Work in your garden. Getting outside and staying in good physical shape will help you maintain a healthy mental state.
- Eat healthy. While it can be second nature to dive into comfort foods, assuring that you are consuming a diet that will optimize your mental and physical functioning is key. Snacking all day gets to be easier when working from home with the kids around, but it can also wreck havoc on your metabolism.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep can be elusive when you’re nervous about life. Stick to a routine that encourages eight or nine hours of sound sleep every night. You’ll get the physical rest you need and the mental break necessary to maintain brain health.
- Manage your media consumption. There’s lots of information out there, often more negative than positive. Don’t obsess over every new report. Limit your intake of news so you don’t start feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Check the facts to be sure you’re not being exposed to bad information.
- Find things to enjoy. Make a point of pursuing pleasurable activities to take your mind off things. Read a good book, watch a lighthearted movie, finish a jigsaw puzzle, cook a gourmet meal—do anything that lifts your spirits and makes you feel better.
- Stay connected to people and your spirituality. Maintain your relationships with friends and family. Social distancing guidelines may be looser these days, making things easier, but if you or a loved one is in self-quarantine because of a positive test for the coronavirus, don’t stay isolated. Reach out.
- Don't forget about medication. Make sure you are taking your medicine as prescribed. Now might also be the time to look into seeing a medical doctor for an evalutaion to see if medicine can help you control chemical imbalances in your body and brain - don't be afraid to ask for help from your trusted medical providers!
Angelo Sambunaris, M.D.