At a time when many people are deeply concerned about the spreading of the coronavirus and its impact on public health and the nation as a whole, it’s important more than ever to maintain good mental health as a way of coping with stress.
Anabel Basulto, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, says paying attention to your mental health during these challenging times is just as important as keeping good physical health.
“For many of us, these are stressful times,” Basulto said. “However, there are certain simple steps you can take to help you and your loved ones better adapt to staying at home. The key is to understand that the situation we’re in right now is temporary, and that it will get better. Until then, we need to maintain good mental health by following certain guidelines.”
According to Basulto, it’s important to keep your routine and schedule in order to maintain some normalcy under these new circumstances we face today due to COVID-19. “Try to keep the same weekly schedule of waking up and going to bed,” she explained. “This will help your internal clock to stay the same, which will ease stress on your body.”
Basulto also recommended the following:
⦁ Exercise via video, YouTube or another source, as that will help you with battling stress. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (feel good hormones), and that will help you feel better.
⦁ Focus on a hobby such as painting, cooking, doing a puzzle or arts and crafts.
⦁ Listen to music, as music can be very therapeutic and relaxing.
⦁ Avoid excessive watching and reading of the news. Instead, read a book, or watch movies or other programs that can provide entertainment to ease your mind.
⦁ Do not consume drugs or alcohol to ease your mind, as this will only worsen your stress level, increase anxiety and possibly depression.
Basulto emphasized the value of making remote social connections during this time of social distancing, and warned against isolating yourself emotionally from others.
“Don’t forget to share with others how you are feeling,” she noted. “Technology can be useful during this time when we’re all being asked to stay at home as much as possible. Use face-time, Skype or other programs that will allow you to feel connected to others. Verbalize how you are feeling. Chances are you are not alone, and others are feeling the same.”
For information on how to protect and care for yourself against COVID-19, visit kp.org.