1. Let yourself feel what you feel, without judgment.
It is unfair to expect yourself to stay positive and upbeat every minute of every day. In uncertain times like these, it is particularly unreasonable. It is natural to have varying emotions during times of stress. You may be sad, angry, or irritated and not know exactly why. That is OK. Allow yourself the space to feel exactly how you feel. When this happens, check in with your mind and your body to determine what you need. High levels of emotion can be a signal that you need to step back, take a deep breath, and take time for self-care.
2. Then take action.
No one knows what you need as much as you do. So don’t wait for someone else to give you what you need. Look within and understand what you need during difficult times. Do you need more quiet time with a book? Do you need more exercise? Do you need more time out in nature? Do you need connection with someone else? Now is the perfect time to really get in touch with what fills you up. Then do more of it.
Have a list of go to items you can do when you are feeling low or like everything is just getting too heavy. You want to let yourself feel what you need to feel, but you don’t want to get stuck and tangled up in it. After you have allowed yourself to experience your emotions, without judgment, take action. Go to your list and pick out an action that you know has been successful in lifting your spirits and go do it!
3. Keep your immunity strong.
Now is not the time to live on potato chips and ice cream. Focus on adding super foods into your diet, like blueberries, broccoli, citrus fruits- foods that boost your immune system. Get plenty of rest and exercise. Lack of sleep decreases our ability to regulate our emotions. Sleep can also help us ward off infection and disease. Just walking can clear your head, lower your blood pressure, and release mood boosting endorphins. Stay hydrated! When you are dehydrated, you are more prone to infection. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you are already dehydrated.
4. Regulate your intake of news.
And fact check! Coronavirus/Covid_19 seems to be the only news topic out there for our consumption. Listening to or watching the news 24/7 will only increase your stress levels. Check the news in the morning and the evening to get up to speed, and let that be all. Make sure your source is reputable. Then move on to what you want your day to look like and how you want to spend it. Feeling like you have accomplished something at the end of the day will help distinguish one day from the next and help you feel good about yourself.
5. Connect with others.
Isolation is detrimental to your mental health….period. But even during social distancing, you have so many ways you can connect with others. Zoom a happy hour with friends! FaceTime relatives or friends. Have a neighborhood social hour in which you sit in your own yards and talk to neighbors from afar. Get out and walk your dog and say hello to everyone you see, from at least 6 feet apart.