The last few weeks have been quite hard for our country, and all our emotions seem to be increasing as each day passes by. But there are a number of things that can be done to cope with the anxiety that you may be feeling.
Here is a list of some Mental Health Tips:
1.-Limit the amount of news and information that you are absorbing about what is happening in the world. It may be helpful to set a limit of 15 minutes per day to stay current with the news. It is important to stay updated, but watching or reading the news excessively or scrolling through social media will just increase your anxiety and leave you feeling overwhelmed.
2.-Stick to a routine. Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and it includes time for work as well as self-care. Set your alarms to wake up at a specific time everyday, take a shower, change your clothes, and plan your day.
3.- Get out at least once a day for at least thirty minutes. If you are worried about having contact with someone else try doing it first thing in the morning or later in the evening. If you have a backyard or patio, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the view. Fresh air can be a powerful motivator for many.
4.- Focus on what you are able to control instead of focusing on what you can’t control. Even if we can’t control what is happening outside, we can control how we deal with the situation. Remember that we can control our decisions and actions, we can stay home, we can follow the CDC guidelines, we can help each other, we can decide to take it one moment at a time.
5.-Stay active: Physically, mentally and socially
- Physically: Try to exercise or move around for at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps us to release extra energy that we may have accumulated in our bodies because of anxiety. You can go for a walk, ride a bike, stretch, do yoga, dance. There are many YouTube videos that offer free classes.
- Mentally: This may be the perfect time to keep your mind busy with reading your favorite book, watching a movie, coloring, learning a new language, finishing the project that you started and never got around to finishing it. Try to occupy your mind with things that you find interesting and creative
- Socially: Now more than ever, it is easier to stay connected with technology. Social distancing does not mean social isolating. Call a friend, call a group of friends through FaceTime or Zoom, have a “virtual” get together with your family members or friends.
6.- Practice gratitude– This may be a good time to count our blessings and to remember the things that seem to be going well for us. Making a list of the things that we are grateful such as “I am grateful that I am healthy”, “I am grateful that I can be at home and rest”, “I am grateful that I have loved ones around me” are great examples. Even in times of uncertainty, it’s ok to feel peace, joy or happiness.
7.- Develop a practice of mindfulness. Most people struggle with the idea of mindfulness, it only really means to take a few minutes to slow things down or to center yourself. One good exercise for mindfulness is a quick breathing exercise where you breathe in for five, hold for a sec, breathe out for ten. This slow exhalation tricks the brain into relaxing the body.
There are a number of of apps designed to help with mindfulness. Here a few of my favorites:
- Insight Timer
- Take a Break
If you would like a meditation, a good one is: https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations
I am hoping that this list helps you to deal with any anxiety that you may be experiencing. If you would like extra help with managing your anxiety, you can contact me at any time.