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5 Tips to Maintain Your Mental Health During COVID-19

Self-care isn’t just a buzzword, and for many, it’s more than a bubble bath. During these unprecedented times of staying safe at home and keeping distant from loved ones, it’s easy to feel isolated, sad and anxious. Now more than ever, it’s important to prioritize your mental health just as you would your fitness routine.  In times of crisis, we often unintentionally put our self-care on the back burner while we focus on more important areas of need: learning to work from home, keeping up with academics and closely monitoring the state of our world. However, taking a proactive approach to mental health is the key to stress-busting and staying sane.

  1. Limit the time you spend on news platforms.

It’s no secret, the news and media can be overwhelming at this time. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stay educated on the topic, but clicking into a downward spiral of links and tweets about the pandemic can leave you feeling more anxious than when you started. Try setting a timer, allowing a few minutes to read headlines from credible publications, and then logging off after it beeps. Alternatively, subscribe to a daily newsletter from your local newspaper, read the articles it pushes out and stop once you’ve finished. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of Google News and press briefings, and while you may leave your search more informed, you might also find yourself more stressed. Ingest the news with caution and discernment.

  1. Take the “mind, body and soul” approach.

Think of it as a checklist: do one thing for your mind, one thing for your body and one thing for your soul every day. For example, reading a book stimulates the mind, going for a run energizes the body and calling your sisters to check in warms the soul. Remembering to balance activities that serve each of the three will prove helpful in maintaining mental health during this crisis. Alternatively, if you ignore one area, you could feel negative effects.

  1. Occupy your hands.

It’s easy to slip into a quarantine slump by turning to binge-watching Netflix every night. While we love a great movie to provide a little escape, oversaturating our days with entertainment can wind up leaving us feeling down. Try creating something instead. Is there a hobby you haven’t had time to explore before, but might be interested in pursuing now? KDHQ staff members say they have been experimenting with baking bread, watercolor painting and tie-dying old T-shirts to pass the time. Or, if organizing is more your speed, set aside a few hours to redecorate your bedroom, color-code your closet or Marie Kondo your makeup drawer. Anything that keeps your hands busy will help maintain a sense of calm.

  1. Give meditation a try.

Meditation can help you relax and learn to live mindfully, which is so important during periods of intense stress. If you’re a beginner, we suggest downloading the Headspace app. Headspace breaks down meditation into easy, doable segments, so even the most fidgety individual can learn how to be at peace. While it may seem intimidating, and sometimes feels fruitless, quieting the mind and focusing on breathing is a tried and true method for easing anxiety.

  1. Stick to a strict bedtime routine.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sleep is a must to maintain mental health. You may be tempted to stay awake until the late hours with no early morning classes to attend or an office to get to, but try to avoid becoming a night owl. Choose a normal bedtime and stick to it! Turn off all electronics (including your phone) an hour before bed and keep a regimented pre-sleep routine to ensure a restful night. This can include a before-bed relaxing yoga session, reading a few chapters of a book, or simply taking a few minutes to journal. These quiet activities prepare your brain for a deep, restful sleep. You’ll be amazed what a refreshing night of sleep can do for mental health.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration during this time, be sure to check out our motivational graphicsrelated to the coronavirus climate and check out the Remote Engagement Toolkit in the KD Resource Library for more tips on mental health.