Mental Health and COVID-19

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COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in a big way. It’s all the media outlets talk about. It’s all over social media…and for the first time for many, they’re left with no work to do. Suddenly unemployed, or a reduction in hours. Working from home when they feel they should be in professional attire at 7:00 am.

I highly encourage you to take this opportunity to breathe. Relax. Stop obsessing over the work you’re missing, and sit and be with your ancestors. Now is not the time to edit the bylaws of your nonprofit, or mull over some small detail in your business plan.

Enjoy the time with your children, even if homeschooling them is exceptionally trying. Be present with them. Be present with yourself. The hustle and bustle of life can offer us many opportunities. It can also though, be toxic. Over-working ourselves feels like success. If we’re not working, we feel lazy.

It can be hard though to self-care when you don’t know how to self-care. Turning off the productivity switch can be difficult. When we have all this free time, and we sit in our thoughts obsessing, it’s not healthy.

Here’s what some people are doing to mentally cope with the COVID-19 scare:

  • Limit media access. You can receive urgent alerts on your phone, but you don’t have to watch continuous news coverage (a lot of it is repetitive).
  • Limit social media access. Social media is filled with misinformation right now. Choose two or three trusted sources to verify what’s true or not true.
  • What are you doing to take care of yourself during the crisis? Social distance doesn’t mean social isolation.

Consider apps like Breathe2Relax. Created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, this app teaches users how to do diaphragmatic breathing which includes breathing down into the low belly. Sometimes, all we need to de-stress is take a few deep breaths. There’s educational videos on the stress response, logs to record stress levels, and customizable guided breathing sessions.

Also, larger health insurance companies like Blue Cross understand the value of online therapy and offer insurance coverage in some cases via the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Lastly, think about what brings you comfort. Our Writer’s Collective Member Kate Carey talks about finding comfort in an upcoming story.

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