Stress and loneliness caused by prolonged stay-at-home orders effect your physical as well as mental health. If you factor in the uncertainty caused by the ever-changing news stories about the coronavirus, you may suffer from mood swings.. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression due to COVID-19 and the stressful changes it has caused to everyday life, here are some ways you can balance your mood.
Take Care of Your Spiritual Health
Most churches and synagogues stream services live or record them for congregants to watch later. Call or email your place of worship for details. You can also keep in touch with other members of your church community through Zoom meetings, Skype, or social media.
Download Headspace or other mindfulness apps if you need help meditating or relaxing. There are many online tutorials, classes and videos that can help you learn how to meditate.
You can enlist friends to meditate with you over Zoom, discuss spiritual issues, or pray. Use technology to keep in touch with others and your spiritual side concurrently.
Create a Daily Routine
Winging it every day may seem fun at first, but it can make you feel rudderless and lose sight of your goals. The uncertainty of how and when the pandemic will end, and a free-for all attitude about what you should do each day will cause anxiety.
Focus on your life and friends. Avoid spending huge blocks of time on social media or news sites. Keep track of what is going on in your community so you know about the latest regulations and business openings that directly affect you. Constantly checking news stories about politics or the pandemic in general will only cause needless worry and take up time you could better spend on self-improvement.
It may be hard for some people to make a schedule and stick to it. Create a list of tasks you’d like to accomplish the next day before you go to sleep at night. Choose one or more of the tasks as the next day progresses. Your tasks don’t need to be accomplished in any particular order or timeframe, unless they’re related to your job or urgent errands, like picking up a prescription medication.
Make each day somewhat different to keep things interesting. Monday can be a day for online learning, Tuesday can be set aside for a supermarket run, Wednesday can be a day to work in your garden, etc.
Find New Hobbies to Replaced Cancelled Activities
You may feel depressed if you can’t go out to movies, concerts or restaurants like you did before the coronavirus. Even if some restrictions have been lifted in your area, you may feel anxious about eating out, going to the nail salon, or doing other things you may have enjoyed in the past. Remind yourself to stay in the moment and take all necessary precautions. Live carefully, but don’t live in fear.
If you can’t perform some of the activities you previously enjoyed, like going to concerts or clubs, replace them with new activities. Take online singing courses if you miss going to the karaoke bar, or order art supplies and take up sketching or painting. By keeping your mind occupied, you’ll avoid the rumination and racing thoughts that attack an idle mind.
Improve Your Physical Health
A good mind-body connection is essential to control stress. Get enough sleep to boost immunity and your mood. If you get too little sleep (or too much), it can leave you depressed or anxious. Adults need seven or eight hours of sleep every night.
Walk, jog, ride a bike or keep active for least a half-hour a day. Regular exercise lowers your risk of many chronic illnesses, from depression to cardiovascular disease
When you do go to the grocery store (or order food online), stick to a master list of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and skip junk food. Snack on nuts, seeds and dried fruit instead. Eating processed food can contribute depression, as well as diabetes and other physical illnesses. Eating a Mediterranean diet lowers your risk of depression by 25 to 35 per cent over a traditional Western diet, according to research. This diet relies on seafood, fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains.
Use Online Counseling if Necessary
If you have a therapist, keep in touch with her by phone or video chat if on-person meeting aren’t an option. Many therapists will take on new clients via video chat or phone during the pandemic. Check popular psychology sites such as Psychology Today for a list of mental health professionals accepting new clients online during the pandemic.
Live in the Moment
Mindfulness is especially important during the pandemic, whether you are still in lockdown or in one of the phases of your city opening up more businesses and organizations.
Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t complete all your projects for the day. If you lose sight of your intended goals and spend too much time on social media or buying trinkets from Amazon, brush it off and move on to work, study or constructive hobbies.
Use self-compassion if you find yourself becoming disoriented or ruminating about your health or something in the news.
Join a Support Group
There are several online therapy and psychology groups that offer help from the public at large, mental health patients, and therapists. Use online forums affiliated with mental health organizations and publications to get accurate and professional feedback. Avoid social media groups unless they are run by a well-known mental health organization or a licensed counselor.
Don’t want- or need - a support group or professional counseling? Talk with a trustworthy friend or relative online or over the phone, or keep a journal.
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