Tips for Mental Wellness While Staying HomeMarch 24, 2020
Hello everyone and happy Tuesday!
In these trying times, it’s essential to prioritize both physical and mental health. In addition to practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of illness, we should also take action to benefit our emotional wellness.
We have some helpful tips for navigating the possible feelings of fear, anxiety, and isolation that can result from exposure to daily news updates and staying home for prolonged stretches.
Studies show that adequate sleep — 7-8 hours per night for adults — improves our immune systems, aids with regulating our moods, and can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. 20- minute naps are also useful for promoting the same healthy effects. We recommend putting away electronic devices at least 30 minutes before getting ready to sleep and practicing quieting the mind to more easily drift into slumber.
A simple 15-minute walk outside can lower blood pressure, release feel-good endorphins in the brain, and help relax the body. This is especially true when your route features natural elements like views of trees, flowers, or the ocean. See the walk as an opportunity to take a mental break, observe the beauty of the natural world, and soak up some Vitamin D. Don’t worry, it is still possible to practice social distancing in these settings. Just be sure to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and any neighbors you might encounter on your route.
Breathing techniques have a calming effect on the body, provide a pause from immediate feelings of anxiety, and contribute to overall well-being. When working, taking a moment for breathing exercises can boost both creativity and productivity. Our preferred technique is a 10-10-10 method of breathing in, holding the breath and exhaling for 10 seconds each. This process can be repeated as many times as needed.
When experiencing heightened anxiety, reducing time spent on sites like Twitter and Instagram — some experts recommend limiting exposure to 30 minutes per day — is a healthy way to step back from overdosing on content that might have negative effects on the psyche. The same can be said for reading, listening to, and watching the news. Be kind to yourself and take a break from anything that might be causing feelings of panic and despair.
Friendship is an essential element in positive mental health and can soothe feelings of stress, fear, and isolation. Practicing social distancing might keep you from seeing friends in person, but you can still be in touch. Calling a friend, video conferencing, and texting are effective ways to feel connected from the comfort of your own home. Let your creativity flow and come up with fun and unique ways to engage with friends through technology.
We have all heard “laughter is the best medicine” and those words could not be more true for mental wellness. Genuine laughter sheds tension in the body, boosts the immune system, and promotes endorphin production in the brain. We recommend watching funny movies and TV shows as well as sharing jokes with friends.
A warm bath can yield a number of health benefits. Most notably, baths can put your body and mind at ease, aid your immune system, and prepare you for sleep. Incorporating essential oils like lavender, scented candles, and calming music will make for an even more tranquil experience. Still moments like these are beneficial for everyone at a time like this.
Traditionally we think of the physical health effects of stretching, but it is important to note the mental health effects too. Stretching has positive impacts on relieving mental stress through easing muscle tension, calming the mind, and increasing blood flow to the brain. Stretching before bed can prepare the body for restful sleep and help prevent cramping throughout the night.
Sometimes speaking to a therapist is the best way to address feelings of stress and anxiety. If you are new to therapy, there are a number of ways to connect with a professional remotely. If you already see someone, reach out to ask if they will let you do your session over the phone or through video conferencing. You are not alone.
If you start to feel sick, stay inside and speak to a healthcare professional for advice on the next best steps to take.
Be well, be smart, and be safe. We can get through this!