Mental Health in the Time of Corona Virus: Taking Care of Yourself is Not a Luxury
From your Heart of Texas Region MHMR (For more posts in this series, click here: Mental Health in the Time of Corona Virus)
During times like these taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury. It is essential. And during this difficult time, when stress is running high, it’s more important than ever. Here are five tips that can help:
Make time for yourself – Right now, much of the personal time that was part of our daily routines may not be available. Without it, we have to be intentional about creating space to recharge and decompress. This could look like taking a shower or bath, walking around the block, or designating time to read. Think proactively of things you can do with this enforced time at home. Get back in touch with hobbies or activities you enjoy but rarely have time for, or make the choice to learn a new skill.
Prioritize healthy choices – The added stress and loss of structure we are all experiencing right now can make it easy to slip into habits that feel good in the moment but can be detrimental in the long term. Make sure you’re eating properly, try to get enough sleep, and create a routine that includes physical activity. Be thoughtful and intentional about how you are treating yourself and your body.
Be realistic – Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and giving yourself grace if you can’t meet them. Practice forgiveness and self-compassion. There’s no playbook for this. Remember you are doing your best during a very difficult time. Cut yourself some slack.
Set boundaries – Anxiety may seem rampant right now. With so much worry and uncertainty floating around it can be easy to absorb other people’s fears and concerns without even realizing it. If you have a friend or family member who is in the habit of sending worst-case-scenario news or is prone to sending anxiety-provoking text messages, practice a little emotional distancing. Let them know you sympathize but that you’re taking a break from constant worrying. You can always reconnect when things are calmer.
Finally, remember, being kind to yourself will not only help you stay calm during this difficult time, it will help ensure that you have the bandwidth you need to take good care of yourself. When you prioritize your needs, you’re filling the tank, emotionally and physically, and that means you’ll be in a position to offer comfort and care to others when they need it most.