This week has been filled with uncertainty, panic, and fear. I have watched as my family, friends and clients have struggled under the weight of our collective experience of a pandemic. Personally, as a mom to a medically fragile child, this week has not been filled with peace. As this pandemic continues, it is time to focus on how to care for our mental health during a public health crisis.
1. Quiet Time is key for your mind and heart.
This season has brought uncertainty to the forefront in so many areas of life. If it feels overwhelming or unattainable to have 15-20 minutes of quiet reflective time to start or end your day, try 3-4 Five minute breaks of quiet and deep breathing. Give yourself space to process what is going on around you and allow yourself to feel all the emotions that are present during this season.
2. Find ways to connect and be present with others from a distance.
Human connection is vital for our everyday life. The thought of being distanced from others can bring its own anxieties. Social distancing, while imperative can seem lonely. Check in on friends and family through video messaging apps and social media. This is a great season for board games and puzzles with family while school children are home.
3. Seek out nature and the outdoors.
Taking a walk on an outdoor trail or even in your neighborhood. A change of scenery can really assist in shifting our focus. While you are on your walk, reflect on what this time away from your everyday routine has given you as an experience.
4. Watch the news for key information, but let’s not drown in media coverage.
Taking a short amount of time to get necessary information is great. This might not be the time to mindlessly leave on the news all day. It is OK to take a break from media coverage so that your mind can rest.
As a society, we have an opportunity to slow down and change our pace of life for a few weeks. I know that fear can be blinding and overwhelming. Let’s all work together to see if we can acknowledge the fear while supporting our family, friends and neighbors.
5. Reach out for help as you need.
Most of all, if you become overwhelmed, distraught, or feel out of control during this changing time in society, reach out. To a family member, a friend, your counselor, your pastor. Our regular lifestyle is shifting during this health crisis, it is so important to stay connected even when we are socially distant.