The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 50,000 lives – a number that’s projected to soar in the coming weeks and months. In the United States, 10 million people have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks.
It can be difficult to maintain a healthy state of mind amid a crisis. Fear and anxiety can overwhelm, particularly those of us who have lost loved ones, gotten sick, or been laid off.
However, there are measures you can take to manage your well-being.
Follow the news, but set a limit.
It’s critical to stay informed (make sure your sources are trustworthy) but a constant stream of information isn’t healthy. The CDC notes that “hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting,” and recommends taking breaks from the news.
Prioritize your health.
Perhaps more than ever before, it’s important to prioritize your physical well-being. The CDC recommends well-balanced meals, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, deep breaths, stretching, and meditation.
If you work from home, set a routine and stick to it.
If you have a job that allows you to work from home, it’s important that you establish a routine. The Muse recommends:
- Designating a workspace: If you normally go into an office, it’s particularly important to designate a physical space to work.
- Dressing the part: You don’t need to dress as nicely as you would to go into the office, but changing out of your pajamas can help you draw a line between home and work.
- Transitioning in and out of work: If you have a pre- and post-work routine, stick to it. If, for example, you listen to music on your commute, do the same before and after work.
Stay connected virtually.
Thanks to technologies like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime, it’s easy to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues. Make a habit of reaching out to the people you care about most (you can even schedule a virtual happy hour). If you’ve lost contact with old friends, this could be an opportunity to reconnect.
Take up a hobby.
Research has shown that leisure activities can improve your psychological well-being. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet, play an instrument, paint, or pursue another hobby, now’s the time.
Setting goals can help you regain a sense of control and purpose. It’s also linked to higher achievement. Think about things you’ve wanted to accomplish that you can do at home, then commit to getting them done.
Help at-risk and marginalized communities.
Science also says it feels good to help. If it’s within your means, consider:
- Providing supplies to your local hospital
- Giving blood (the American Red Cross is facing a shortage) or plasma
- Donating or purchasing a membership to your favorite local business
- Volunteering with a nonprofit
- Ordering groceries for or delivering them to an elderly neighbor
Use telehealth services.
If you normally attend therapy, see if you can continue your appointments via telehealth. There is evidence to suggest that online therapy is just as effective, if not better, than in-person consultations.
Focus on the things you can control.
In a time of great uncertainty, it’s important to focus on the things you can control, such as taking care of your physical health, maintaining good hygiene, keeping physical distance, and staying indoors.
By following these steps, you may be able to improve your state of mind during this unprecedented crisis. For more practical advice about the coronavirus pandemic, review the links below: