10 Mental Health Tips for COVID 19

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COVID 19 is impacting us all, and we’ve heard countless reminders of washing hands and participating in social distancing.  But one thing we haven’t heard very much about as ways to keep mentally healthy during the quarantine.  Below are some tips I’ve been sharing with my clients to help them stay calm and zen during this hectic time.
  1. Focus on the good. Thinking about all the things that can go wrong really isn’t productive at this point–just take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and then direct your thoughts elsewhere.  Techniques like grounding or meditation can help, and reading is also a good distraction (here’s some books I’m recommending to young women).  Create goals for yourself and focus on all the things you will now have time for, like spending time with family or getting projects done (which brings me to #2).
  2. Be productive.  On days that you’re stuck inside, clean out that junk drawer or organize your closet; or whatever project has been sitting there, ignored, forever.  One of my clients told me that she’s going to try on all of her clothes and donate whatever doesn’t fit right anymore, what a nice idea to declutter and to help others.
  3. Get outside.  Although we can’t be out in public, we’re not literally confined to our homes.  Being outside has many health benefits, from the fresh air to the vitamin D that the sun gives our skin.  So take a walk around your block, go run around in your backyard, or sit out on your porch while you read a magazine.
  4. Get moving.  Walking or jogging in the outdoors is fabulous exercise, and on days that the weather doesn’t permit outside activities, you can still do plenty of exercises in the house.  I found ideas that I love on Pintrest, and Eat This, Not That has 30 moves that you can do for 30 seconds so there’s no excuse to be sedentary.
  5. Read.  Although your body is stuck at home,  your mind can travel anywhere.  I’ve finally been catching up on some reading and it feels great!  Already read everything in your house?  The New York Public Library allows us to rent books for free right now!
  6. Check out the 100 greatest movies of all time.  This became part of my “30 before 30” list, and I got to watch some things that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise paid any mind to.  There are different opinions about some of the lists out there (like IMBD, AFI, or Time Out) but many of them have overlap and you’ll find some gems on all of them.
  7. Explore new arts.  Or rekindle old passions, like drawing and painting, bracelet-making, pottery, or cooking.  My blog is full of recipe ideas if you’re going the culinary route.  And it’s easy to find inspiration online for any creative endeavors you choose to pursue.  A friend of mine has recently started making candles and I love when he gives them to me as gifts. Healthline even shared this great recipe for DIY aromatherapy PlayDoh!
  8. Catch up with loved ones.  Although we need to keep our physical space, utilizing Facetime or Hangouts is a great way to share your smiles with friends and family.  You can catch up with people that you don’t chat with often and swap ideas for staying mentally active and creative.  Also, since elderly family members are at greater risk of complications from this illness, they may be feeling particularly alone.  Talking on the phone or video-chatting will certainly cheer them up.
  9. Write letters to old folks’ homes. Your loved ones aren’t the only people who are lonely during the quarantine. Visiting has been suspended at many care facilities for the elderly, and that can have a very negative impact on their emotional wellbeing. I saw a great idea on Facebook though–if you’re home with your kids with nothing to do, have them draw pictures to mail to your local old-age home.
  10. Practice good self-care. Being home all day might create the tendency for some people to stay in their pajamas and neglect their self-care a bit. That can have negative implications for your mental well-being, so even if there’s nowhere to go, brush your teeth, take a shower, put on fresh clothes, and maybe even do your hair. It’s not a waste of time, but an act of self-love.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any more ideas to add I’d love to hear them and share them with my clients. Although these are very uncertain times, if you follow proper hygiene and do things to stimulate your mind, this will soon blow over and we might be even more mentally fit afterwards.  I’ll leave you with this quote from Kitty O’Meara:
“And the people stayed home.  And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.  Some met their shadows.  And the people began to think differently.
“And the people healed.  And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

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