Are you feeling anxious and exhausted? Well, you are not alone. Six months into the pandemic and it truly feels like there is no end in sight. Coronavirus cases are increasing across the country. Some children have already returned to school. For others decisions are being made as to what the upcoming school year will look like. Unemployment rates are up. And there still aren’t Clorox wipes and toilet paper on the shelves. It is normal to feel worried, anxious and exhausted during this challenging time. New data shows that Americans are suffering from unprecedented levels of mental stress. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently shared that the majority of American adults, believe that the pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health.
It would appear that we are still in the first stretch of this very challenging marathon. Now more than ever it is important check in with ourselves and our emotional needs. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to pace ourselves, as we enter this next stretch of the pandemic. As the pandemic continues here are some tips to check in with yourself and nurture your mental health.
- Do Things That Make You Happy: It may seem like the world has shut down. And yes, many things have. But there is still a lot of joy to be found. Remember to find the time EVERY day to do things that make you happy.
- Engage in Physical Activity Every Day: Research shows that exercise and mood are linked. If you are a seasoned athlete set a goal and GO FOR IT. And if you are not it doesn’t matter, there are so many ways to get started. Even a little bit of physical activity goes a long way – a 30 minute walk or stretching each day will easily lift your mood.
- Talk to Someone: It can be difficult to handle stress alone. And we shouldn’t have to. Stay connected to family and friends and remember to offer your support too. If you are having trouble managing stress or staying connected, consider reaching out to to your primary care physician or joining and emotional support group for advice and connection.
- Stay Informed, but Limit Exposure to Social Media: It is important to stay informed with accurate information from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Remember your risk is unique to you and your family. Making choices that are best for your situation might look different than those of a loved. That is okay. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can make daily decisions less stressful. Try to limit exposure to media, especially when children are present, and self-monitor your time on social media if that is impacting your level of stress.
Stress is inevitable. It affects everyone, especially during these unprecedented and challenging times. But stress does not have to lead to stress related disease or adverse health consequences. Remember to check in with yourself and your loved ones daily. And remember there are many tools and resources out there to help keep your stress in check!