Mental Health Tips for Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

This last month has been one that has led to feelings of stress, anger, anxiety, fear and loneliness for many. Life has changed dramatically. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants, schools, churches, gyms, and many other establishments have either closed or changed the way they operate.

For some, the new reality is to work from home while trying to homeschool children. For others, the stress of losing household income and being the sole breadwinner is starting to settle in. We are called to practice social distancing at a time where being with one another is therapeutic. Although we are unable to engage in our usual activities and the future is uncertain, there are things you can do to help. The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends the following:

· Create and follow a daily routine– Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely.

· Stay virtually connected with others– Psychologists suggest using phone calls, text messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks. You can use these mediums to discuss your feelings of anxiousness and sadness. Also do not forget to reach out to those that may be struggling.

· Maintain a healthy lifestyle– Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try to avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope with the stresses of isolation and quarantine.

· Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive– Examine your worries and aim to be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your ability to cope. Try not to catastrophize; instead, focus on what you can do and accept the things you cannot change.

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