During times of uncertainty, it is natural that you start to feel more anxious, sad, and distressed. To help you through this delicate period, below are some suggestions from specialists on how to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
1 – Use technology to your advantage
Social support is fundamental for the quality of life of human beings. At this moment when this is restricted, we remember that physical distance is necessary, but also that interacting with your family and friends is still possible through social networks, phones, and applications.
2 – Beware of excessive information
Access to information and news about the coronavirus can be done through websites, social networks, and television. However, excessive information during quarantine can be understood by your body as an overload of stimulus, which can increase levels of stress and anxiety.
For this reason, it is important to analyze your reactions and, if deemed necessary, avoid reading these negative stimuli excessively. If you want to get information, always look for official and reliable sources, such as https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
3 – Look for hobbies and activities that boost your well-being
Duties take up a lot of your time and you end up not getting time to do activities that do you good? Now maybe a good time to try to strike a balance between your obligations and activities of personal interest. Pleasurable activities can help improve your quality of life, contributing positively to a sense of well-being and reducing sadness, stress, and anxiety. You will be taking care of yourself and developing skills.
Exercising the body and mind are extremely important activities and can be done without leaving home by watching videos made available on YouTube, Instagram, and trainers’ live feeds via Zoom!
4 – Establish and maintain a daily routine
Many people complain about their routines as if repetition is boring and demotivating. However, it can be therapeutic, as it allows you to organize and have a sense of control, which also brings security and emotional comfort.
So, set and respect the times to sleep, wake up, and eat meals. Set an activity, however small, for each period of the day: for example, watering the plants in the morning, exercising in the afternoon, and reading a book at night. Balance is essential to take care of your mental health.
5 – Take good care of your sleep
Maintaining the time you sleep and wake up every day, even on weekends and holidays, has a positive impact on the functioning of our sleep. Below is a table with tips for you to have a more pleasant sleep:
|Improve your sleep|
|To avoid||To do|
|Working, watching TV and having meals in bed affect the quality of our sleep||The bed should only be used for sleeping and having sex|
|The light emitted by digital screens, like cell phones, because it makes it difficult for us to fall asleep||End the use of these devices and activities that shake us before going to sleep. Seek more peaceful and relaxing activities|
|Stimulating foods and substances, such as caffeine and cigarettes, after dark||Consume tranquilizers and teas (Warm milk, chamomile tea, etc.)|
|Eating too much before bed||Light meals, up to an hour before bed|
|Do dull exercises just before going to bed||Before going to bed, give preference to stretches or do yoga|
|Long naps during the day||Short naps and naps, no more than 30 minutes|
|Room with excess light, sounds and noises||Have a dark and cozy environment at bedtime|
If you manage to maintain a quality sleep pattern, you will wake up restored the next day, with more energy and focus for your activities, with a good mood and your immune system strengthened!
6 – Reconnect with the people who live with you
Going through this new coronavirus pandemic as a family can have its own set of challenges, so two strategies can be useful: rescuing the relationship and respecting privacy, with a balance between both.
7 – Strategy A.C.A.L.M.E.-S.E.
Created by psychologist and researcher Bernard Rangé, the A.C.A.L.M.E.-S.E strategy can be very important in a time of more intense anxiety, such as panic attacks. These attacks are anxiety attacks characterized by the appearance of several physical symptoms at the same time and with strong intensity. If you have any anxiety crisis in this delicate period, use the strategy A.C.A.L.M.E.S.E:
Accept the feelings generated by anxiety. Although it seems strange, accept them as something unexpected and unknown, but that will pass. Do not fight the symptoms, it only makes them prolong and increase your discomfort. Let the symptoms flow until they subside;
Contemplate the environment around you. As an observer, describe objects, people, focus your attention on the external environment and let your body deal with anxiety, without judgment;
Act despite your anxiety. Continue what you were doing before it came; if necessary, slow down, but go on. Do not try to escape; this can lead to a reduction in anxiety, but also an increase in fear;
Liberate the air from the lungs. Breathe slowly, breathe in through your nose, mentally counting to three, bring the air to your abdomen, hold the air for another three seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth, counting to six. Follow this process until you find the ideal rhythm for your breathing;
Maintain the previous script (accept, contemplate, act and breathe) until the anxiety reaches a level more comfortable for you;
Examine your thoughts. It is common for catastrophic thoughts to arise. Observe your internal dialogue and check rationally whether your thoughts are likely to happen or not. Remember that the anxiety crisis is extremely unpleasant, but it passes and does not put your life at risk;
Smile, you made it through the crisis. You have managed to deal with anxiety and will be able to return to this sequence when necessary;
Expect the future with acceptance. Let go of the idea of living free from anxiety, it is part of everyone, and it is useful for your survival. Learn to live with it and use the necessary resources when the crisis is more intense.
I hope this article finds you well! Stay strong, and keep well, this is a temporary situation and soon enough this will all be over. If you are currently managing a business and would like to stay connected with your clients by offering support services online the article 4 ways to keep your clients engaged and generate additional revenue during and after the quarantine might help.