The pandemic has completely modified our day-to-day lives like we never could have imagined. With well over two months since the virus first impacted the United States, it’s no surprise that the pandemic has completely reshaped modern life as we know it.
Our repetitive, almost instinctive schedules have been modified in ways that none of us were prepared for. We’ve had to adapt and modify our habits, schedules, and daily routines.
Some of us have even lost jobs and even loved ones during this period unsettling period. It’s no question that even a small combination of some of these factors can significantly influence your mental health. It’s imperative that we all stop and take time to ask ourselves how we are doing to determine what is supporting you or undermining your mental health needs.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, stop and ask yourself how you are feeling. Take time to sit down and consciously think about how the pandemic might’ve affected you. Have you adapted well? Is there room for improvement? What do you think is working for you or working against you? This is a chance to truly take time to think about the days you’ve enjoyed vs. the days that could have gone better. Remember our emotions about ourselves are the sum total of our experiences and memories. Although the pandemic may have changed our daily habits and schedules, humans are extremely adaptable if we take the time to reflect, recalibrate and focus on what our mind, body and soul needs on a continuing basis.
There are many contributing factors that can directly influence your emotional health and mental health. These can include your diet, regular physical exercise, and close connections with friends and family. Do a mental inventory and think about the things that put you in a good mood. If you find some habits that are not working for you— that’s ok, at least you’ve recognized them to make adjustments. For example, if you are a habitual snacker while working from home make and effort to snack on food that is healthy like trail mix or fruit. If you’ve noticed you are not exercising as much as you would like to, schedule some time for a walk, run or and indoor workout to get those feel-good brain chemicals going. Trust me it’s not easy to start but I bet you will feel amazing after it’s over.
Here are some ways to adjust and monitor your mental health:
Keep a daily routine— Our brain loves routines. In fact, our brain is filled with habits that we have instilled overtime. COVID-19 has influenced habits and schedules, which could throw you into confusion. Make sure you take time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time every day. Find a morning routine that makes sense that will give you the boost you need to conquer your day. Continuing monitoring your habits and correct the ones that may not support you. For example, mindlessly scrolling on social media may not be the best for you during this time. Instead pick up a book that feeds your energy and spirit.
Be proactive in reaching out to family and friends— Scientists have proven that our connection with others contributes to both our physical health and psychological well being. Moods and behaviors are contagious and in many ways our happiness is significantly, influenced by those we associate with.
Although we may not be able to see our friends and family face-to-face, we can make use of web conferencing apps such as Facetime, Google Duo or Zoom. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. After the call is over you might even feel a rush of feel-good chemicals in your brain.
Take breaks from social media— It’s easy to fall into the trap of mindlessly scrolling through social media with no apparent objective. Especially during this time it’s important to take breaks from social media and news outlets to give your mind a chance to rest. Set limits on your devices if you find yourself overwhelmed or unhappy after scrolling on your social media or news sites.
Positively Caviar, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization focused on instilling mental resilience by way of positive thinking and optimism. Each month, a member of their Nucleus Team will feature a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a positive and healthy lifestyle. To learn more about how you can support, volunteer, or donate to Positively Caviar, Inc. please visit: staybasedandpositive.com.