10 Tips To Improve Your Mental Health During COVID-19

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As you scroll through my Instagram, you may have the impression that shelter in place is going great. I’ve been running, peloton-ing, and working. All is dandy here.

Yeah, no.

I like schedules. I thrive with a goal, routine, and consistency. Is there anyone who doesn’t? Sure, I am super sporadic and can be flexible, when it comes to reaching a goal, I am driven AF.

COVID-19 has hit me hard mentally. Kids home. Husband home. I continue working, school, and parenting, yet now everything has been flipped upside down without warning.

At the hospital where I work, we went from having one of the highest census years ever , working 50+ hours many weeks, to employees getting furloughed. I am on the designated “COVID” unit, and thus early on, I devised a plan to decontaminate myself before entering the house.

All while I complete classes for my BSN, including a 30 hr practicum, epidemiology (imagine that?) and “home school” my kids. I say “home school” because they are teaching themselves at this point.

Grocery trips are made every other week to decrease exposure. I leave the house only to go running or buy groceries (as an introvert- I’m not complaining).

I tell you all this, not for sympathy. I tell you this to let you know. I see you. I know my story isn’t that different from yours. We are in this together.

Here’s my challenge to you as we move forward. Try to incorporate a few of these self-care tips to help improve your mental health during COVID-19:

  1. Get creative. Journal, write, paint do whatever feeds your soul. By keeping creative, you bring in the feminine energy and strengthen your intuition. When you have a strong intuition, you are aligned with your soul’s purpose.
  2. Keep moving. Running, yoga, hiking, or biking…whatever it is you like to do. Movement helps to work out the stress-energy we all may be feeling. It’s grounding. It will bring you out of your head and into the present.
  3. Focus on positive affirmations. Like attracts like. If you continue to keep with the negative chatter in your head or aloud, you will attract the same. Commit yourself only to think, say, and do positive thoughts and deeds. You will be amazed at the results.
  4. Stop reaching for drugs or alcohol to cope. Self-care does not include wine or beer. Self-care is meditation, breathwork, and yoga. All of these practices will help to support your nervous symptoms and calm you down. That glass of wine will do quite the opposite. Stop reaching for alcohol to cope with the feelings you don’t want to face. Sit and be with them. Explore them. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It will pass. If you feel like you need help and had a problem please know there is help out there. Please visit https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/whats-new-on-aaorg. They are hosting meetings virtually during COVID-19.
  5. Practice gratitude. When you wake up write down 5 things for which you are grateful. There’s many studies showing that practicing gratitude can actually rewire your brain.
  6. Let go of what you can’t control. You can’t control others actions, what will happen tomorrow or the next day so stop worrying about it!
  7. Remember what you can control. You can control yourself and your actions. Use this time to improve your body, mind, and spirit!
  8. Find a new hobby. Learn to sew, knit, rollerblading, or cooking. Sign up for a virtual running race. ANYTHING! Find something to keep you focused and moving forward, yet anchored in the present.
  9. Call a friend or host zoom chat. There are several platforms to have a virtual meet-up: facebook, zoom, houseparty, etc. We downloaded a Euchre game phone app and hosted a Zoom Euchre game virtually a few weeks ago and had a blast!
  10. Remember that this too shall pass.

I hope these tips help! Many of these are practices I am doing to keep sane during the transient time. It hasn’t been easy to say the least. We are all in this together.

This will pass. We will move forward and things will get easier.

Until next time…Be the Change!

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