The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has been jarring, to say the least. Fear and anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak can at times feel overwhelming. I’ve had several instances now where I just broke down and cried. I think a lot of us have had these breaking moments. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s so important we take care of our mental health. A healthy mindset helps support a healthy immune system. The two go hand in hand together. As I mentioned before here, anxiety and stress lead to reduced lymphocytes which diminishes our body’s ability to fight off infections. We need to make sure that our immune health stays uncompromised.
How to protect our mental health during the pandemic
Here are some things that have helped me combat my anxiety during this uncertain time. Please keep in mind that we are all different but these things have worked for me so I wanted to share them in case they can help you as well!
- Limit your news take – While I do believe it’s important that we stay informed and knowledgeable about the current situation, if reading all the news makes you extremely anxious and worried, I think it could be beneficial for you to limit your time reading the news to just once a day. Pick a time like the morning or evening and read the current news for just 15 minutes a day. That should be enough to stay informed and hopefully it doesn’t overwhelm you.
- Cardiac Coherence – I’ve recently learned about cardiac coherence and have been practicing deep breathing exercises. Cardiac coherence refers to an equilibrium between the cardiac system and the nervous system that helps calm the mind. One way to achieve this equilibrium is through deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can help you feel more centered and relaxed. They can also be beneficial to your respiratory health so I think it’s a great habit to start practicing now.
- Exercise – Working out is so important for your mental health and if you do it consistently, it will make you feel better in the long run. I walk around 5 miles each day with my dog and work out using Anna Victoria’s Fit Body Guide at home. Walking helps clear my head and is such a low impact exercise that anyone can do. No excuses! I also try to do a quick 20 to 30 minute workout a few times a week. Check out my post about my at home workout essentials here!
- Develop a quarantine routine – I am a huge fan of routines. They help calm my mind. Since for the next month or so quarantine will be our new normal, I think it is important to develop a quarantine routine. Get up at the same time everyday, go on walks or workout in the morning, eat breakfast and then start your day. It will set the tone for the rest of your day and make you more productive. Not only that, it will help ease your mind as you will have a schedule that you are abiding by and purposeful tasks for the day.
- Rely on your faith – Reading Bible quotes that deal with anxiety has helped me tremendously during this uncertain time. You can view some of my favorites here. I was recently talking to my boyfriend about the current situation, and with Easter coming up, he brought up the idea of seeing quarantine as “Lent on steroids”. Normally, most of us only give up one habit for Lent. However, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we have been “forced” to give up a lot more. We have given up our daily routines and norms. Some of us are going through very hard times. We are being separated from loved ones or dealing with sick relatives. Some of had to cancel events like weddings and birthday celebrations. Others are worrying about job security. The virus is affecting all of us in many different ways and shaking up our worlds. But know this, God doesn’t ever give us anything we can’t handle. We will get through this. And we will come out stronger and hopefully more grateful and appreciative of our lives once things return to normal.
- Get Busy – One bulletproof way to take your mind off of the current situation is to stay busy with other tasks. I think it’s crucial to our mental health. The opportunities here are endless. You can read books, start a blog, make a podcast, create art, play fun games with your kids, or even watch a new TV series. I find that when I’m busy, I enter into a “flow” like state and I stop thinking about all of my other worries and stresses. It’s such a powerful escape. It also feels amazing once I’m done with a particular task or hobby because I have accomplished something for the day. I highly encourage you to stay busy during this time.
Let me know in the comments below how you are all doing and what has helped you stay positive during the coronavirus outbreak. I’m praying that a safe vaccine is developed very quickly and things return to normal soon.