To say that the emergence of the novel coronavirus has shaken things up would be an understatement. With case numbers on the rise and a vaccine not yet available, it’s hard to deny that the world is a scary place right now. Many of us have seen sweeping changes in our daily lives, while others have lost loved ones and/or experienced a dramatic reduction in income.
That being the case, it’s easy to see why so many people are having trouble maintaining a positive outlook and why individuals with existing mental health issues have seen those issues exacerbated. With an unprecedented pandemic raging on and impacting virtually every area of our lives, self-care has become more important than ever. Anyone looking for advice on maintaining good mental health during the current crisis should heed the following pointers.
Stick to a Healthy Diet
There’s no denying the positive effects a good diet can have on one’s physical health. Eating healthy is highly conducive to longevity and can reduce one’s risk for heart disease, cancer and a variety of other ailments.
However, the psychological effects of smart eating choices can be equally beneficial. In addition to boosting your mood, a healthy diet can increase overall brain function, lead to heightened energy levels and, in some cases, help reduce depression symptoms. Given the psychological impact this pandemic has had on so many, there’s arguably never been a more important time to make sound dietary choices.
Even if you don’t have much experience with dieting, eating right doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. In addition to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you can help stave off temptation by limiting the amount of junk food you keep in the house. If unhealthy foods aren’t easily accessible, you’re less likely to seek them out whenever cravings strike. You can also use this opportunity to experiment with new recipes and meal substitutes, like vegan protein powder shakes.
Stay in Contact with Loved Ones
Being unable to regularly see friends, family members and other loved ones has taken a psychological toll on many of us. After all, if you’ve grown accustomed to seeing certain people on a consistent basis, having them seemingly removed from your life can be a huge shock to the system. However, it’s important to understand that these people aren’t actually gone and that most – if not all – of them are simply a phone call away. Additionally, with video calling apps being more accessible than ever, you can easily interact with your loved ones face-to-face from the comfort of home.
Explore Remote Therapy Options
Even in the best of times, talking out our issues is important. Given the immense psychological impact the pandemic is having on so many of us, there’s never been a more crucial time to have someone to do this with. In the interest of curbing the spread, many mental health professionals have closed their offices, but a fair number of them have opted to provide virtual counseling until such time as it’s safe to go back.
So, if you lack a solid support network or simply think you’d be better-served by a qualified therapist, don’t hesitate to explore virtual counseling options. The benefits of therapy are many-fold, but you won’t be able to experience them before taking the first step.
Do Things You Enjoy Every Day
Self-care is vitally important during this difficult period. As such, you should always make time in your daily schedule for things you enjoy. For example, if exercise makes you feel good, invest in some good at-home fitness equipment and create your own little gym. Alternatively, if relaxing is what helps you unwind, set aside some time for reading, television watching or video game playing each day.
In addition to causing over one million deaths worldwide, the novel coronavirus can do significant damage to one’s lungs and other vital organs. There’s no denying that COVID-19 represents a considerable threat to one’s physical health, but the toll it’s taken on countless people’s mental health should not be overlooked. If the pandemic has caused you to develop mental health issues or has made existing mental health issues worse, put the following pointers to good use – and do not be afraid to ask for help.