With a shelter-at-home order in effect in North Carolina – and with social distancing continuing for the near future – many of us are finding our precious routines disrupted. That plus excess togetherness and an exceptionally distressing news cycle can take a huge toll on your mental health.
While you’re stuck on quarantine – whether you’re alone or with your family – you need to take care of your mental health! Here are four tips for keeping your head above water during the time of COVID-19.
Most “shelter-at-home” orders do not legally prevent you from going outside. You can still enjoy a walk around the neighborhood, nature trails, or even your local park (in some municipalities.) Just make efforts to stay at least six feet away from other people.
In a more rural area, or just not in the mood for exercise? Take some time in your yard or on your porch to soak up some sun. Sunlight is scientifically proven to improve your mood, and it’s vital for maintaining a good sleep schedule.
Keep a Routine
With many of us working from home – often with less supervision – it’s easy for work hours to get weird. When work hours get weird, so does the rest of your routine: sleeping, regular workouts, lunch breaks. But routine is proven to positively impact mental health, and can help ward off impulsiveness and aggression in kids.
Make efforts to keep your routine as normal as possible. Consider setting alarms, even on weekends, to make sure you don’t slip into an unhelpful pattern.
Communicate with Your Family
Being cooped up together can create or exacerbate tensions in your home, especially for those where children are normally in school during the day. It’s important to be honest and upfront about your needs during this time: your need for quiet, alone time, or personal space.
Practice using “I statements” during tense conversations, and address problems early before they fester. Your family will be better off!
Minimize Internet Exposure
Finally, we all know how tempting it is to pick up your phone and scroll Twitter or Facebook during your downtime. While it’s important to stay on top of the news, there comes a point where repeated exposure to bad news can turn into something akin to mental self-harm…and that is dangerous.
Self-discipline can be hard in this area, as most social media is designed to keep you coming back. Consider deleting apps on your phone, only checking sites on your computer to minimize the temptation.
Azevedo Family Psychology is offering both tele-therapy and in-person therapy during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you want to get started on your therapy journey, give us a call today!