Each of us is being impacted differently by the ongoing pandemic; it may be cognitive, physical, and/or emotional. Being able to identify how the pandemic is affecting you will help you to determine how to best cope. The long cold months, coupled with the pandemic, can also have a significant and increased impact on your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Are you ruminating on the pandemic all of the time and glued to the news? Have you been more anxious, frustrated or sad about everything that has happened or continuing to happen related to Covid-19? Are you having difficulty sleeping? Do you often have headaches or stomach aches? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be feeling the effects mentally, physically or emotionally of being in a global pandemic. You are not alone.
According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network, Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in U.S. Adults Before and During the Covid-19 Pandemic, nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression. That is nearly three times the number before the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Oftentimes when someone is experiencing mental stress and thinking negative thoughts over and over again, it will have an impact on their physical health. It is important to take care of your whole self so that you can be at your best during the pandemic for you and your loved ones.
Here are some self-care tips for your well-being:
- Set and maintain a routine at home.
- Focus on things that you can control.
- Use technology to maintain social connections with your loved ones. Consider a regular check-in schedule to give you something to look forward to.
- Focus your thoughts on the present and things to be grateful for today.
- Listen to music or read books.
- Consume reliable news sources that report facts, and avoid media that sensationalizes emotions. Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.
- Lean on your personal beliefs and faith for support.
- Look for ways to help your community, such as making a blood donation, checking on older neighbors, or donating to local organizations.
- Acknowledge and appreciate what others are doing to help you and your community.
- Fuel your body by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water.
- Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
- Exercise every day.
- Take deep breaths and stretch often.
- Avoid risky or destructive behaviors, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, excessive gambling or ignoring public health recommendations.
- Spend time outside, such as going for a walk in the park, but follow social distancing guidelines.
- Focus on small things you enjoy.
- Focus on how you feel in the moment – laughing, feeling joy and relaxed.
- Social support – talk it out.
- Positive thinking.
- Participate in random acts of kindness.
- Accept that you might need additional help.