The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of fear and confusion all over the world, impacting significantly on our mental health care. Many of us are checking our phones almost constantly, wanting to get the next big update on the virus, hoping to mentally prepare ourselves for what is to come next. Numerous governments across the world have begun to implement mandatory coronavirus quarantines and are urging their citizens to practice social distancing, in lieu of close contact with others, in hopes of controlling the virus.
This might sound like an easy solution however, it can be quite inconvenient for those who deal with anxiety and depression, to stay home with little to no human interaction. As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I completely understand, and that is why I came up with ten mental health care tips to help you get through this stressful time of isolation and the unknown.
10 Mental Health Care Tips
Yes, I know it sounds very cliche but cleaning has proven to not only occupy your mind but also help you focus in the long run. According to a study conducted by Princeton University in 2011, researchers found that those who decluttered their home(s), had a better time focusing on time-consuming tasks, rather than those who have an unorganized space.
Staying indoors can be stressful, especially to those who are forced to live in spaces that compromise their mental health care management. Though talking your issues out with someone might be ideal, journaling could be the second-best option. You are able to express yourself in every which way without the fear of judgement. Keep your journal in a safe place, and write out whatever emotions you might have.
Additional tip: Check out some inspiring slam poets to get your creative writing juices flowing.
#3: Try At Home Workouts
While working out might seem like a chore, the mental health benefits are incredibly worth it. According to a study conducted by the Physicians Postgraduate Press, including some type of aerobic exercise to your daily routine, such as, jump rope, squats, lunges, dips or even a simple walk around the house, can improve your mental health tremendously. Researchers saw an improvement amongst the participants after exercising, with many reporting improved sleep, higher sex drive, weight reduction, stress relief and an overall better endurance.
#4: Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can have an incredible impact on your mental health. Lavender oil has proven itself to relieve stress, peppermint oil has shown results of boosting overall energy, and according to a study on 22 menopausal women, clary sage has been found to be a great essential oil for depression.
You can use essential oils in a diffuser, or simply put a few droplets in your hand and rub them in. The aroma itself can help you relax. As someone who loves to use essential oils, throughout the day and night, my favorite combination is peppermint oil and eucalyptus. It smells amazing, while having incredible benefits to your mental and physical health.
#5: Drink Water
While it may seem self-explanatory, many people often forget to hydrate, which can not only detriment your physical health but also has a vital role in maintaining your mental health as well. According to the World Journal of Psychiatry, drinking enough water can decrease your risk of anxiety throughout the day. On the contrary, being dehydrated can increase your risk of anxiety and depression throughout your day. So, remember to hydrate!
While social media is fun, it can also be incredibly toxic. Instead of spending your time on the internet, take thirty minutes to an hour per day and read. Whether it be a book that you’ve been pushing off reading, or a few articles a day on a subject that you have always wanted to know more about (not pertaining to the virus), take time every day to immerse yourself into something that can serve as a healthy distraction from the madness occurring in the world.
Additional resource: Read our interview with intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis
#7: Friend Time
There are numerous ways you can continue to interact with your friends, while being physically apart. Chat it up with your friends over the phone, play an online game together or watch Netflix as a group (through the Netflix Party extension on Google Chrome). This way you can interact in the same way you would if you were physically in the same room, talking and watch movies at the same time. Do not let social distancing taint your need for social interaction!
Additional tip: Pick a film from our list of 6 Films Featuring Trans Actors in Trans Roles to watch with your friends!
#8- Face Procrastination
We all have emails, leftover assignments, or even everyday tasks that we need to catch up on. Facing your procrastination head-on can help alleviate any feeling of being overwhelmed by your work. Try to get it done early in the day, so you can go about the rest of your day in the way you would like.
#9- Creating a New Goal or Project
Now is the time more than ever to create that goal or project that you’ve been talking about. Whether it is writing that book, creating that blog, hitting your fitness goals or even if it’s to talk to your loved ones more, it is always great to create a goal for yourself during a time of isolation so you can once again occupy your mind.
Side note: Do not feel down or pressured if you do not have the motivation to start any new projects. If all you can handle is chilling out, that is okay too. Do what you feel is best for your own mental health care.
#10 Stick to a healthy routine
To maintain your mental health, it is important to stick to a routine. Whether it’s a combination of everything on this list or just a few things, a routine will help manage your mental health care. Set yourself small goals and prizes that you can reward yourself with once the tasks are done. Creating milestones will help you make it through the rough parts of the day, and manage any boredom or frustration you might be feeling.
We are all in this together!
Written by Jonathan Chandler @jonathanchandler_
Artwork: Ro Cuartin @fannymonologues