You turn on your television… COVID-19 news. You scroll through your Instagram feed… COVID-19 posts. You Zoom your friends…COVID-19 is the topic of conversation.

While COVID-19 has infiltrated our everyday lives, it’s important to recognize when it gets to be too much for our mental health. Yes, it’s important we stay informed, but the overload of information can be overwhelming and detrimental to our well-being. We’re in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month and here at Double Forte, we believe it’s incredibly important to prioritize your mental health, especially during a global pandemic. 

Below are some tips to cope with stress, not only during a pandemic, but everyday.

1. BREATHE!

If you’re feeling like the world is caving in, take a moment to stop what you’re doing and simply breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and take note of how you feel. There are a handful of breathing techniques that can be found here. Each provides their own benefits that range from reducing stress to improving your lung function. Begin with a minute a day and work your way up to five. 

2. Exercise

Exercise is a natural and effective way to reduce anxiety. A simple sunset stroll or lunch-break yoga can ease your mind and improve your energy levels. Exercise can also help you sleep better at night so you wake up refreshed and ready for a new stress-less day. As a bonus, you might shed a few pounds to show off post-quarantine…who said anything about the quarantine 15 here?

3. Stay Connected

The Zoom fatigue is real but it’s important to connect with family and friends when you’re feeling down. If you’re not feeling the virtual hangout, try going back to ancient times and whip out the old pencil and paper. Ask a friend or family member to be a penpal. It’s always exciting to get mail and know you’re being thought of. Focus on topics that bring you joy and avoid mentioning that virus going around. Maybe write down 10 ways you are grateful for that person during this time.

4. Try Something New

Yes, it’s hard to check things off the bucket list right now but how about finding a new hobby that you can do at home? Try watercolor, calligraphy or photoshop classes on YouTube. Use things in your pantry to unleash your master chef skills you never knew you had. Purposeful activities are a great way to unwind from your normal routine and improve your mental health; they can make you feel accomplished and meaningful. Get some relaxing music going and your creative juices flowing!

5. If Needed, Get Help

You’ve heard it time and time again but truly, it’s okay to not be okay. If you feel you need help, there are several resources you can utilize right from your home. Resources like free anxiety support meetings from companies like Lionrock Recovery (disclosure they are a client), online therapy through your current healthcare plan and helplines like SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-4357). There is no shame in seeking additional help. You are important and it is worth it to get the help you need to succeed and live a full life. 

These are just a few tips for improving your mental health during stressful times but ultimately, do what makes you happy and diverts your attention from your stressors. We hope that you take some of these tips into consideration as you focus on the positive aspects of your life.

– Miranda Carpenello

Sources:

10 Breathing Techniques

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Purposeful activity – hobbies

9 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today