With the new motto of “flatten the curve” during the COVID 19 outbreak, we can take this time to create an opportunity to actually re-connect, rather than disconnect. Of course, we are being responsible by practicing social distancing and avoiding large (and maybe even small) gatherings. And with that being said, our mental health needs to be tended too, desperately, during these times.
Trust me when I tell you that I thought the first two months of 2020 were challenging, but this is a whole new thing. We have to think about the long haul here – in a world that is we aren’t used to living in.
I truly believe we can make a difference in the spread of the virus. Heeding the warnings and staying home when we can and maintaining social distancing we really can make an impact and flatten the curve. It really is up to us, to be responsible not only for our health, but for the health of our community, State and world. So while you may feel great and are healthy, it’s confirmed we can transmit to those who aren’t. So be sure to be act responsibly during this time.
There are many challenges in the days ahead that are more than just the health of family, friends, loved ones, community and the world. So many are going to experience childcare issues, financial uncertainty and general uncertainty of what is happening next.
With that being said, I wanted to share a few things we can do to make sure we can actually find some comfort and calm during this time. Some do’s and don’ts to try:
1. Limit the news. The constant onslaught of even hearing the words “crisis” creates anxiety and tension – even if we don’t know it’s happening. There is so much information coming at us – it’s too much to process, especially since it changes day to day and sometimes, hour by hour. Instead, set scheduled times to watch or listen to the news. Limiting your TV consumption can be a great way to not become overwhelmed and fearful - watching wall to wall coverage isn’t healthy for any of us.
2. Limit social media. It’s easy to get sucked into article after article about what every news outlet and newspaper has to say. Before we know it, 20 minutes has gone by, we are more confused about what we are reading and still can’t figure out why everyone is buying up the toilet paper.
3. Get out in nature. We can still walk in the park, garden, take a walk at the beach, walk with our kids and/or dogs or go on a hiking trail and still practice social distancing. Exposure to outdoor space reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Check out more HERE. Not just health effects, but mental health effects too. This article from Harvard University reports spending time outdoors reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
4. Catch up on reading – I know there are books you’ve been meaning to catch up on! You can still practice social distancing and go to your local library and check out some books too.
5. Play board and card games with your family. If you don’t have any, Amazon has a great selection!
6. Practice meditation! Now is a great time to check out many of the available apps on meditation. Meditation is the antidote to stress and… it’s free. Check out this article from the National Institute
Health on Meditation and Stress.
7. Organize. Maybe it’s your garage or that closet – now could be a great time! Check out 25 Ways to Organize Your Whole House
8. Create!! Maybe it’s art or the new dish you’ve been wanting to make. This could be a great family activity too and doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s 110 Fun Activities for the Family
9. Music – listen to it. Play it. Sing to it. Music is a natural mood lifter and it can naturally change the way we see the World.
10. Write a hand-written letter to a loved one. Nothing feels better than receiving an actual letter in the mail.
11. Get a new hobby (where you can practice social distancing!). Maybe it’s crocheting, practicing yoga, learning to draw. Here is a comprehensive list of hobbies from Wikipedia.
12. Self-care. Now is the time to practice self-care. Take a bath. Take a nap. Do anyone of the things listed above or whatever else you find works for you to practice self-care. Check out a podcast I did regarding self-care practices HERE.
13. Connect – connect with your loved ones and family. Playing the game This or That is a fun way to connect and learn more about the ones you love!
14. Write out a gratitude list. We may be stressed out thinking about all of the unknowns and we can also find things to be grateful for as well. This Harvard Study also gives ideas on how to cultivate gratitude.
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