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For many of us, this COVID-19 pandemic is the first we’ve ever been so effected by. As you watch the news, you may be reminded of other pandemics in the past, but they didn’t stop the world like it has this year, as far as we remember. The coronavirus has caused many people to suffer trauma and stress all across the globe.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen ill, been greatly impacted financially, and even lost loved ones. As most of the world has been ordered to distance ourselves from friends, family, and other people in general, a lot of people (especially those of us whose love languages are physical touch and quality time) have been struggling to cope with this new normal way of life. If you’re interested in learning how to manage your mental health during COVID-19, keep reading.
I’m writing this article from my home office in Chicago, IL, and as for us, we’ve been on lockdown since March 21, 2020. We’re coming up on two months of finding something to do rather than socialize with the people we love. Birthdays have passed. Mother’s Day has come and gone. And people all over have been doing our best to cope and get creative with how we connect with others and offer support.
The New Normal
Birthday parades have taken over the internet, as loved ones find ways to celebrate one another while still adhering to the rules of social distancing. Care packages and meals are assembled and dropped off at front doors. Neighbors are having front yard dance parties. And musicians are sharing their gifts with their neighborhoods.
Maybe your wheels are already spinning about how you can better spend your time in quarantine, but below are some ways you can manage your mental health during COVID-19. I must mention that the information shared in this article is in no way medical advice. I am simply sharing ways that have helped myself and others to maintain a healthy mental state during this time.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID-19
Do something you enjoy.
If you have a hobby, or enjoy your work, do that. Getting lost in a passion project is a great way to take your mind off of stressful things, and to allow time to pass. Fortunately for a lot of people, we don’t have to dread getting up every day and trekking to a job we hate. Instead, we can focus on doing things we enjoy.
Ideas for passing time:
- Arts & Crafts
- Playing An Instrument
- Recording Music
- Cleaning and Organizing
- Watching A Movie
Talk it out.
While social media is a chaotic place, nowadays you can find communities of people who are simply supporting one another. Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk had a great episode about managing stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another great source of advice comes from Rev. Andre D. Lee. He did an interview with Tony R. Sanders about managing your mental health on a spiritual level. I recommend you check out the show here. You can also talk to a professional who can help you deal with the stressors of life right now.
Write about it.
Writing is a great form of therapy that allows us to get our thoughts out in a healthy way. I’ve written about this before in a previous article. You can release your feelings through your pen, and leave them on paper. Writing things out helps you to feel mental and even physical relief. This clears your mind to focus on other things. Grab a journal, a pen, and a quiet space, and let go of your thoughts and feelings.
Engage in a little retail therapy.
As a money-conscience person, I’d advise you to be careful with this activity. While many people are spending loads of money on online shopping, you must keep in mind that most of them are also still working from home and making the same money as they did before the pandemic began. If you are working from home, and can afford to spend a little, go for it. But if you’re like millions of americans who have been displaced from their jobs, you may want to only shop for things you absolutely need. Window shopping is fun too, though. Nothing wrong with browsing and making a wish list!
Learn a new skill.
With more time on your hands, you can take the initiative to start learning to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. And luckily, with just a quick Google or YouTube search, you’ll have the information you need at your fingertips. It’s always a great idea to invest in yourself. Why not get excited about getting started on something you want to do. After all, it could help you be better at what you already do, in the long run.
Avoid watching the news.
I get it, you want to stay informed. It’s perfectly okay to get the information you need, but you shouldn’t stay glued to the news reports all day and night. Doing so could leave you even more stressed and paranoid than you were to begin with. Sadly, the news is structured to get ratings like any other TV show. And most news shows suck people in with stories that cause viewers to feel afraid, sad, or angry a lot of times.
Avoid scrolling on social media for hours.
While social media can be used as a great tool to connect with others, and conduct business, it can also be an unhealthy place to spend your time. Some people use social media to dump negativity into the minds of others. Sad stories, arguments over points of view, graphic photos and videos, and so much more fill social media news feeds every day. If I were you, I would avoid scrolling through that stuff all together. Instead, you could join the groups that are much more positive in nature, and engage solely in those. If, like many people around the world, you are connected to friends and family on social media, you may want to consider editing your friends list, or unfollowing negative people, so that your news feed is much more positive.
Avoid venturing down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories.
It is confusing enough to simply understand what is going on in the world, without adding layers of ideas that conflict with that information. That’s not to say don’t seek the truth. Instead, I’m suggesting that it is a lot more difficult to manage the stress of this pandemic when you offer your attention to the distractions of other people’s opinions, paranoia, and frustrations. Manage your own first. Then, if you can handle it in a healthy way, venture out further.
Spend Time Enhancing Your Spiritual Life.
I actually recommend this as the first thing you should do with your time. As a Christian believer, I spend time studying the bible and praying. Doing these things strengthens my relationship with God, brings me comfort and confidence, and allows me to be productive throughout the rest of my day. Spirituality helps to ground and center you. With faith in God, I have been able to manage to get out of bed, create, clean, organize, and grieve healthily. Regardless of your religious background, there is something you can do within your faith that should help you to deal with life as it is a little better than if you tried to go it alone.
Enjoy doing nothing.
Before the pandemic halted everything, the world was in full swing. Everybody was hustling, stressing, and moving about not having enough time to do the things that really mattered to them. Now, the pause button has been pressed on life, and you can move a little slower than before. Instead of trying to fill your time with constant movement, allow yourself to relax. Enjoy the stillness. Enjoy the quiet. Enjoy the opportunity to chill for a minute.
This is the perfect time to love on yourself. If you have children or others to attend to, take care of your business, but be sure to practice self-care first. If you’re not okay, everything else may start to get shaky. Don’t be afraid to focus on yourself and get what you need in order to serve and help others. It’s more than necessary; it’s essential that you keep yourself in a healthy mental state. What have you been doing so far to manage your mental health during COVID-19? Has it been working for you? What other things might you try from this article?
Author of The Mask and Creator of The Write Mind Studio
Andriea Denise is an author, educator, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of The Write Mind Studio, and passionate about helping people to become the best versions of themselves and to live the lives they actively create.
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