Maintaining sanity during the Coronavirus: 10 mental health tips
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
With the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, there's no doubt we're charting unprecedented waters.
But amidst this chaos and panic, there's YOU. Your heart. Your needs. Your spirit. YOUR WELLBEING.
And we need to take care of alllllllll of that. ☝
Here are my top 10 tips for maintaining your mental health during this global crisis.
1. Limit and monitor your social media & news intake
Staying connected to people via social media is important. And staying informed about world events is important.
But it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily scroll of news feeds and updates that you end up wondering “where'd the time go?” and you walk away feeling heavy, discouraged, and scared.
One of the few things you have control over right now is how you spend your time.
Being intentional about what you’re consuming and how often is critical to maintaining hope and inspiration during this world crisis.
👉Take action: There are countless apps and programs you can install on your phone or computer that set a limit on app usage.
On an iPhone simply go to Settings >> Screen Time >> App Limits >> Turn it on >> Choose the apps you want to limit and set the max amount of time you want to spend on them every day.
2. Establish a new morning routine
Chances are, your life looks different now than it did 2 weeks ago. Which means you need to establish a new normal. And quick.
One of the best ways you can stay grounded is to create routines and structure for yourself.
It’s important that your routine isn’t too elaborate or intricate.
Don’t set yourself up to feel overwhelmed by creating a routine that takes 2 hours to complete.
Choose 3-5 things you want to do every morning before diving into the demands of your day.
Here are a few ideas:
Sit in silent meditation/prayer for 10 minutes
Go for a walk
Do a simple yoga sequence
Walk the dog
Brush your teeth
Listen to music
Drink a glass of water
Listen to an inspiring podcast
Watch an inspiring TED talk
Do a crossword puzzle
Write down a daily gratitude
Record any dreams from the night before
Say/write a few positive affirmations
Make your bed
Get dressed for the day
Choose any of these three, string them together, and commit to doing them every morning.
There’s no right or wrong way to start your day. Find what works for you and do it.
3. Set boundaries around work
Working from home?
Decide what your working hours will be and stick to them.
If you’re a fan of the 9-5 schedule, then work from 9-5 and close that laptop at the end of the day.
Have you always dreamed about having a different work schedule than the one your company mandates? Now’s your chance!!
Since being an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that my attention span is short and all over the place. I prefer working in 3-hour chunks and try not to exceed working 5-8 hours a day. I’ve also realized I like working every day of the week. So I work for fewer chunks of time spread across 7 days.
YOU DO YOU.
What schedule matches your energy?
What schedule serves your productivity and creativity?
What time of day are you primed to consume content, have meetings, or write that important email?
👉Take action: Find what works for you and then set boundaries (Toggl is a great app to help with this) that hold you accountable for working when it’s time to work and playing when it’s time to play.
4. Get outside
I cannot stress this enough. Especiallyyyyy for anyone who is prone to depression.
Social isolation and having unlimited access to your bed are two potential triggers for a depressive episode, especially if you’re already struggling emotionally.
It is imperative that you find ways to get outside if your city/state still allows it right now.
This doesn’t need to be a huge endeavor or a heavyweight on your shoulders. But finding reasons to step outside at least once a day are critical to maintaining your mental wellbeing.
If you need to check the mail, take out the trash, and take the dog for a walk… space the chores throughout the day so you get fresh air (and a fresh perspective) periodically rather than all at once.
👉🏻Try listening to an episode of a podcast while sitting on your front porch.
👉🏻Have kids? Simply roll out a picnic blanket and play your next round of UNO in the backyard.
👉🏻I’ve been trying to go for a daily walk - sometimes only for a short 10 minutes.
Just remember to stay 6 ft away from neighbors!
5. Decrease stress levels with meditation
Go grab your phone.
Like… right now.
👉🏻Download the InsightTimer App.
👉🏻Click on “Guided” on the homepage.
👉🏻Listen to any of the free meditations they have available.
👉🏻Repeat: Every. Single. Day.
Or check out my 5 favorite mindfulness exercises that you can do with nothing but your breath and body.
Stress lowers the immune system, affects your sleep, and creates tension in your body.
Meditation and mindfulness exercises are one of the most convenient and FREE ways you can tangibly decrease your stress levels.
We are living in a stressful time.
Energetically, our world is tense. Fear is everywhere. Panic has struck.
If you want to stay healthy, you need to consciously find ways to counter the energy of the world around you and stay connected to your body and your truth during this global crisis.
👉Take action: Pick a mindfulness practice that works for you and start integrating it into your morning, afternoon, or nightly routine. 5-10 minutes a day is all you need to notice a profound impact on your mood, thoughts, and overall wellbeing.
6. Learn a new skill or practice old ones
If you’re out of a job right now (and even if you aren’t) maintaining a sense of purpose is crucial to staying mentally afloat.
✨This is the perfect time to pick up an old hobby or learn a new skill.✨
Are you a fan of knitting? Baking? Gardening? Playing an instrument? Writing poetry?
What lights you up?
Skillshare is one of my favorite discoveries of 2019. I used it to learn my calligraphy writing skills, how to bullet journal, and basic graphic design tips for my business. It’s pretty much the hub for any and all skills you might want to learn.
I highlyyyy recommend checking Skillshare out if you’re looking for ways to spend your time or boost your creativity. Using my link, you’ll get 2 months totally free which is plenty of time to practice your new skill! Or two or three! :)
7. Maintain social connections
Social distancing doesn’t have to equal loneliness.
Human connection is vital to our health; we're wired for companionship and connection.
There are plenty of ways to stay connected to others while staying inside your home.
👉🏻Phone calls, Facetime, Skype, Google Duo, Marco Polo, Voxer, Slack are all ways to connect with people in real-time.
👉🏻Social media and its many forms is a way to stay connected via pictures, stories, inspirational quotes, and more.
👉🏻Put “human connection’ as a mandatory to-do on your calendar. Schedule phone dates and Skype calls. Make them non-negotiable parts of your week with a plan and follow-thru.
👉🏻Attend social gatherings virtually. Churches are live-streaming their services, the dance studio I work at is offering weekly dance classes via Zoom every week, and businesses are using this opportunity to up their virtual game and many places that didn’t previously have online offerings now do.
8. Pray, journal, reflect.
Staying connected to your heart and inner wisdom is hopefully a priority all the time, but especially now.
It’s easy to lose sight of our faith in times when the world feels overwhelming and fear dominates conversations, but you and I both know how powerful love is.
It’s okay to feel your fear, feel the unease, sadness, grief, panic, loneliness, despair, and confusion.
Feel your feelings. Observe, name, and notice what arises within you.
And then… Let them go.
Allow your feelings to pass through you like a wave in the ocean or a cloud in the sky.
This is their natural rhythm. This is what they’re meant to do.
We aren’t designed to spend our whole lives paralyzed by fear. Hijacked by anxiety.
These intense emotions serve as information and as guides. And we must let them pass through our body rather than hold on.
👉🏻Clinging to fear at a time like this WILL create disease.
👉🏻Clinging to fear WILL increase our separation from each other.
👉🏻Letting anxiety run the show WILL distract you from the wisdom of your heart that’s trying to support you.
👉Take action: Make time and space in your day for silent reflection. Create rituals that bring you closer to your higher self, to God, to Spirit, to the Universe, to your divine.
Because I PROMISE YOU what we need right now is a world where people are living in love, with love, and are facing each day in the name of love. Not fear. Not scarcity. Not greed.
9. Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional
If I had control of your finances right now, this what I’d do with every paycheck:
Rent - 30%
Food - 30%
Therapy - 20%
Something that brings you joy - 20%
Yupp. I BELIEVE MENTAL HEALTH IS THAT IMPORTANT.
I’m clearly biased as this is what I went to grad school for, but I hope that helps you trust me MORE; I hope that helps you believe me MORE.
Because it means I know what I’m talking about. And I’m here to tell you that NOW IS THE TIME to invest in support.
Because I know the POWER and TRANSFORMATION that occurs when we're seen & heard by someone who can hold space for all your feelings, all your pain, and all your questions.
This is not the time to pull your child out of therapy to save money. This is not the time to drop down to bi-weekly sessions instead of weekly to cut costs.
Now IS the time to talk openly about your feelings. To get support. To find someone you trust. To lean on a guide.
I offer all my sessions virtually and every therapist I’ve talked to recently has switched to teletherapy.
Many mental health professionals are even offering special financial support options to make sure money isn’t a barrier for you.
👉🏻If you need help finding a therapist or coach that’s right for you, let me know. I’m happy to point you in the right direction.
Also, I’m here - not going anywhere - to support you with any questions you have about eating intuitively and healing your relationship with your body.
Check out my services here to learn about my 90-min and 3-month coaching options!
10. Keep moving
Exercise doesn't need to be a “should” playing on the loudspeaker in your head.
But I do want for you to hold it loosely as a gentle goal to move towards each day.
👉🏻Joyful movement. Something that feels good and brings you joy. Because ultimately that’s what’s going to boost your mental health.
AND on the biological level, movement gets your blood pumpin’ and your energy flowin’ so you can think clearly, show up fully, and keep your body healthy.
👉Take action: Here’s a list of 50 Joyful Movement ideas to get started. Many of them you can do in your home for free.
🎉🎉🎉Win win win win win win.
Get that body movin’ and shakin’ and you’ll thank me later.
Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for the world right now. Staying grounded and in touch with your inner wisdom will pull us through this difficult time.
THEN you can:
But your well-being and mental health come first.
Please reach out if you need anything and share this post with someone you love . ❤