Some Practical Suggestions for How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic
In times of crisis, it becomes important to develop and draw on our inner strength. The forced pause on all of our lives has created a paradigm shift that calls for an entirely new set of priorities and behavioral maxims. But we know how to do this. Instead of getting caught up in the collective fear and anxiety, we can remember to breathe, bring ourselves back to the center, and then take reasonable precaution, but calmly and from a place of clarity and care for each other. We all have our part to do. As I say, it starts in the seat you are in right now.
As Coronavirus spreads, many of us need to stay home. Normal life has been disrupted. This type of disruption can be traumatic, especially for those of us who are more control-oriented or anxious. And we must treat it as such. It’s important to take extra good care of ourselves, and find a way to use this time at home in a healthy and skillful way. OMI would like to offer some practical suggestions to tend to your mental well-being at this time.
- Don’t overdose on media. There is a line between being informed and being indulgent. You want to be informed. Check the latest news. Read the updates from the doctors and scientists in charge. And then walk away. If you start to feel like you’re going to miss something, and you feel the urge to turn it back on, just pause. Bring your attention to the feeling of craving or the urge to turn it back on. Recognize this is just fear in the body, and a totally normal response to the given circumstances. And then walk away.
- Schedule in meditation. Even scheduling in 7 minutes of mindfulness of breathing can decrease stress, increase resilience, and build up the immune system. We are in a kind of forced home meditation retreat. If you’re in a situation where you’re able to find a place of quiet and stillness, set 2 times of the day/night that you’ll go sit on the cushion or chair. Decide what meditations or practices you’ll be doing at what time, so there’s no thinking about it when the time comes. I would suggest a body scan or breath practice in the morning, and then a loving kindness practice at night. Guided Meditations are available for you on our website.
- Keep the body moving. The more you can exercise and get the natural dopamine flowing, the less stressed you will feel. If you lift weights in a gym, go to a park and do pull ups and push ups and sit ups. Go run a trail. If you normally do yoga in a class, find studios that are live streaming classes. Set your web cam up and do a class from home.
- Connect. Be sure you are reaching out to others. With the forced social distancing, we can begin to feel isolated. This will only increase your stress response to the crisis. Write down three names of people that you’ll call each day to check in. Call them with the intention of seeing how they are doing first.
- Volunteer. Check your neighborhood or community for elders or other high risk persons who may need help going to the grocery store or pharmacy. See how you can be of service in this time.
If OMI can do anything for you, please contact us. We are here to help.
Dr. Zack Bein