If you are finding that you are feeling a little anxious during the pandemic, you are not alone! The effects of COVID-19 have been far more reaching than anyone probably had anticipated these last 12 months, and many people are struggling with depression and anxiety in these times. We’ve assembled some of the tips and strategies that researchers are releasing as critical to the development of positive ongoing health while we work through the last throws of the pandemic and begin seeing wide spread vaccines becoming available.
Get a Few Things Done!
Whether you have had a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up or a small project around the house, it’s important to set and fulfill goals. The act of succeeding at even very small tasks has been proven in studies to help you then take on and tackle another goal, which leads to a sense of accomplishment.
We recommend that you make even very small obtainable goals around the house – clean up the refrigerator, organize the pantry, clean out the garage, learn a new recipe to cook that day, etc. These small seemingly inconsequential tasks can build up throughout the week and allow you to feel a sense of success with your time even just being around the house.
Exercise has a long history of proven results when it comes to improving your mental state and fighting off depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, even as little as 10 to 15 minutes of light exercise per day can release endorphins that can significantly improve your mood and sense of well-being.
Even stretching can get these active moving endorphins going as well as take your mind off of things that are actively keeping your mind on things that might make you anxious.
Limit News Intake
While it’s important to stay informed with current events, it’s very easy to get stuck in a cycle of watching the same news stories over and over which can lead to obsessively consuming news. Being bombarded with story after story about the pandemic or negative world affairs in general can have a negative effect on your stress levels. This is especially true when we don’t have as many conduits to combat those feels as we’re all home.
We recommend that you choose several news sources that you trust both online and on television and limit your daily news cycle to under 30 minutes. The amount of information you learn in that time span will likely be more than enough to keep you informed about major events without missing anything essential.
Connect with People Digitally
With technology we are able to connect in ways that are easier than ever. Whether it’s family or close friends you haven’t spoke to in a while, even just a phone call can make a big difference in your mental state. Sometimes when we go long periods of time without talking to someone it begins to feel awkward to pick up the phone and try and reconnect. Just remember that the person on the other end is likely feeling the same way and will be just as relieved to talk to you as well.
Using apps like Facetime, which is built into iPhones and iPads, or webcams built into your computer, can be an engaging way to connect with loved ones or grandchildren. Most people after so many months of isolation are using these same tools as well, so it’s a great time to try something new!
Seek Out Events that Have Gone Online
With just about every part of our lives indoors, we are unable to venture out to enjoy things like live music or theatre. These institutions are also coming up with creative ways to stay open and make a living and have taken many of these events online. Do local searches in your area to see what concerts have been converted to online streamed events or plays. It might surprise you to find that many things have adapted to provide the same things you might love to watch or listen to.
We’re Getting Through It Together
It’s important to remember that everyone has going through the same thing and we’re all in this together. We’re almost out of the woods with medical advancements providing pathways to normalcy right around the corner if not right now in many areas. It’s OK to feel stressed and anxious as long as we’re honest with how we’re feeling and take steps to improve our mental health every day!