7 Tips to Care for Your Mental Health During and After Quarantine
By Daniela Rodriguez
You will appreciate these 7 tips for your mental health that you can implement during and after quarantine. Today more than ever, our mental health has become the prime focus on many posts and advertisements in social media. The physical distancing we are currently in to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus is something new which could be stressful and depressing for some. Not knowing how to cope with this situation can produce anxiety and frustration.
Nonetheless, there is hope to solve this situation and you are not alone. Here are some recommendations you can implement during and after this quarantine to care for your mental health. These tips are not in a specific order so start with the easiest one for you.
If the anxiety of not being able to leave your house is causing you insomnia, panic or taking away the desire to do things you usually enjoy, the best is to meditate. According to Mental Health America, there are more than 600 scientific studies that indicate how Transcendental Meditation has many positive effects on our health.
But if 20 minutes twice a day is not your thing, you can start by meditating for less time. Just by stopping for at least 5 minutes per day, taking deep breaths and concentrating on the present, not only reduces anxiety but it also gives you an energy boost.
How do you meditate? If you are like me and have zero experience on how to meditate by yourself, I recommend you download an app for your phone. There are so many apps that offer meditations guided by experts in this field, my favorite one is Simple Habit. The best thing is they offer free sessions you can listen at anytime.
2 – Keep a Routine
Keeping the routine you usually follow is another tip to care for your mental health. If you are unable to work from home, it is important you continue following your daily rituals to avoid depression.
In an interview for Forbes magazine, Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychology professor at Adelphi University mentioned that there are many studies that show how during traumatic events the best is trying to maintain a routine since not having one could lead to boredom which could later develop into anxiety and depression.
Write a list of what you want to do every day. Doing this improves your self-esteem because it makes you feel productive.
3 – Exercise
According to an article published by NetDoctor, a study in the United Kingdom discovered that exercising for at least 3 times per week can reduce the risk of having depression by 30%. Besides, exercising can release stress, anxiety, improve sleep and boost mood.
Luckily there are many online videos you can do at home and the best thing, they are free! Take this time to try new workouts and take care of your body. Remember; our physical health has a great impact on our mental health.
Check your fitness studio. Most of them are offering classes videos or free subscriptions to maintain your routine and keep yourself fit during these times. If you are not part of a fitness studio or gym here are some options:
The Yoga Collective https://www.theyogacollective.com/ For meditation and stretching routines.
SWEAT: Kayla Itsines Fitness – https://www.sweat.com/ A 28-minute high intensity cardio workout.
AND THIS IS A SPECIAL TREAT FROM LA REVISTA MUJER TO YOU.
MIGDALIA (GONZALEZ) RHODES, Fitness Director of TruFusion of Austin, Texas http://www.ohmydalia.com/ She prepared an exercise video exclusively for La Revista Mujer here!
Start her class – arms, legs, back, abdomen, all in one package -here!: https://youtu.be/uGG6OVHSzOY (And more on her on a separate article!)
4 – Keep on the Communication
Not being able to gather with our loved one does not mean we cannot talk to them. Thanks to technology, it is so easy to feel close to those we love even if we are far away.
Use this time to learn and download apps like FaceTime and Houseparty to communicate with your family and friends. And of course Zoom, which is so popular now.
If you are tired of using Zoom, Facebook will soon release a free tool called Messenger Rooms with a capacity of 8 to 50 people you can easily use.
Take this time to reconnect with people you have months without contacting. If you are lucky to spend this quarantine with your family, take advantage of this and communicate and spend time with them.
Knowing we are not alone and that there are people who care about us is comforting. Remember this is all tem-po-ra-ry.
5 – Pick up or Retake a Hobby
This is the perfect time to pick up or retake a hobby! Don’t complain about the lack of time and find something that can help you cope with this situation and have fun at the same time.
Not only will this keep you busy, but according to an interview for Shape magazine, Navya Singh, Ph.D., psychologist, adjunct faculty at Columbia University in the Department of Psychiatry, and founder of wayFoward comments “Any hobby is a good thing to alleviate such feelings as sadness or anxiety,”.
Here are some examples of hobbies you can try out:
- Learn a new language
- Clean your closet
- Recreate makeup tutorials
- Change your look
- Read a book you find interesting
There are so many hobbies you can try. Take the time to keep learning.
6 – Disconnect
Avoid watching news that causes you stress – the best is to disconnect ourselves from the virtual world and focus our time on other activities.
HelpGuide magazine published an article where studies show a strong correlation between intense usage of social media and the risk of developing depression, anxiety, loneliness or even suicidal thoughts.
If you have any of these symptoms while watching the news regarding the pandemic, disconnect! But if disconnecting seems impossible, start following web pages that focus on good news and how wonderful life is.
One of my favorites is on Instagram and you can find it as @the_happy_broadcast. Just by looking at all the incredible things that are happening on our planet, I feel better.
7 – Nourish your Mind
Taking care of your diet also has a significant impact on your mental health. It is proven that your diet can help reduce anxiety and depression. Fill your pantry with some or all these options to help you take care of your mind:
- Almonds, pecans
- Turkey meat, chicken or salmon
- Green Tea
- Dark chocolate (mi favorite)
Finally: Accept that it is okay not to be okay. You do not need to come out of this pandemic being a better person. Just take it day by day. Nevertheless, if you feel the necessity to talk to someone and find professional help, there are counselors who are currently offering help online just like:
- Talkspace https://www.talkspace.com/ and
- Amwell https://amwell.com/cm/services/online-therapy/
If their prices do not fit your budget, there are other local options that can assist you for a cheaper price or even free. Here are some you can find in Austin:
- Therapy Austin https://www.therapyaustin.com/
- Open Path https://openpathcollective.org/
- Catholic Charities of Central Texas https://www.ccctx.org/counseling-services.html
- If you are having a severe mental crisis you can dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) the Mental Health America line
- You can also call the Integral Care local helpline at 512-472-HELP (4357).
Your mental health is your priority – you should not ignore it. Feeling mentally good is fundamental. Remember that this quarantine is as I say, tem-po-ra-ry. Take a deep breath and focus on yourself.