A disease outbreak can be overwhelming and bring about strong emotions such as anxiety, stress and depression in anyone. This makes it an even more critical time to go the extra mile and take care of your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
As everyone faces uncertainty about the novel coronavirus, there are a variety of measures you can take to manage the anxiety and stress to maintain strong mental health.
Below are five tips from Michelle Sproule, clinical director at Scottsdale Recovery Center to help keep a healthy mental wellbeing during a stressful time.
Remember that you are not alone. It is completely normal to feel additional, amplified, and unwanted anxiety and stress during a pandemic. We are all experiencing this simultaneously and we are all affected by the same unprecedented situation. It is essential to acknowledge your feelings and not minimize them because recognizing these emotions may help you control them as time continues.
Keep in touch with friends and family. Self-isolation can be detrimental, especially for those with mental health concerns. Remember that ‘quarantine’ does not mean that you should isolate from connecting with your loved ones in alternative ways. Staying connected with friends and family through difficult times is vital because complete isolation can create a sense feeling of loneliness. It can be as simple as a phone call, text, or video chat.
Unplug often. While it is important to be engaged and informed, avoid being glued to your phone or TV all day anticipating the latest developments and headlines. This constant intake of information can be overwhelming and paralyzing to your mental health. Set a media diet with a routine and guidelines to limit your consumption. Try to stick to two to three trusted sources.
Stay active and healthy. Take breaks throughout the day to go outside for a walk or bike ride, away from crowds, for fresh air and exercise. Also, there are several at home workout apps or online classes to participate in every day. It is important to eat healthy well-balanced meals and get plenty of sleep.
Practice mindfulness. Try to focus your mind on the present and what is within your control, like your mind, body, and spirit to combat any anxiety and stress. Meditation and yoga are simple yet highly effective mindfulness practices to help stay in the present and quiet the mind, which both can be done in the comfort of your home. Try YouTube videos or the Calm app to jump start your mindfulness practice.
Written by: Michelle Sproule, Clinical Director at Scottsdale Recovery Center
Michelle Sproule , Clinical Director, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Arizona. She received her Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Phoenix in 2014. Michelle is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting (BSP). She is passionate about the people that she serves and works collaboratively with clients and staff to enhance their motivation and drive for recovery and creating a new identity within sobriety.