"John Tantillo, Ph.D. is a TV, Radio and Social Media Branding Expert with over 30 years experience in Behavioral Health Care Branding"

Coping with Coronavirus

 

It’s a scary time, this pandemic. It’s unprecedented, fear is in the air, and the future seems uncertain. Staying at home as much as possible can feel almost isolating. 

In times like these, where we are out of sync with our daily routines, we need to focus on the state of our mental health. Here are some tips to boost mental well-being during this time:

Chat with a Friend
Practicing social distancing can be lonely. This is especially true for those living by themselves.  Even if you are stuck at home for most of the day, there are measures you can take to feel less alone. 

Make it a point to reach out to friends or family a few times a day. Whether it’s through FaceTime or a phone call, simply catching up with someone can make you feel more connected and less alone. Scheduling a few virtual “friend” dates throughout your week gives you something to look forward to.  One idea is to make virtual dinner plans with a friend, where you can enjoy a meal while having a conversation through video. 

If you don’t necessarily have someone to call, you can use social media to feel more connected. For example, musicians such as Chris Martin and John Legend have put on virtual concerts through Instagram Live. NPR posted a list of live concerts that people can enjoy during this time. 

Exercise 
Most gyms are closed but that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. After all, exercise is known to help with anxiety and depression. A lot of fitness studios and trainers are offering FREE at-home workouts. From yoga flows to bodyweight moves to dance cardio, there are tons of options. Do a quick Google search for “free at-home workout class options Covid-19” and a bunch of workout choices come up. 
Some trainers are offering up free classes through Instagram Live so you can feel like you are taking a group class within your home. 

Healthy Cooking
It may be easy to turn to processed foods when sitting at home, but those foods won’t do your body or mind any good. Highly processed foods lack key nutrients that the body needs, which can, in turn, affect mental health. 

Now that dining out at a favorite restaurant is not necessarily an option, why not try whipping up a healthy meal at home? Grocery stores are open, so stock up on some fresh fruits and veggies. Use the time to make a delicious meal from scratch and maybe even a healthy dessert to go with it.

Get Outside
While most bars and restaurants are closed, you can still get outside.  A great way to break up the day is to take a walk in your neighborhood. Connecting with the outdoors is a good way to improve mood and mental health, and avoid feeling cooped up.

An outdoor run could also be a good option. And if you live near some non-crowded hiking paths, take a hike. Try getting outside at least once a day to indulge in some fresh air and sunshine. 

Meditate
The amount of news surrounding the pandemic is overwhelming and can trigger feelings of anxiety for some people. Meditation is a great tool to help ease some nerves, reduce stress, and calm the mind. Start and finish your day with some breathing meditations to help manage stress during this uncertain time. Try some meditation apps like Headspace or Insight Timer

Set up a Schedule 
While normal routines have been disrupted, it’s still good to create some form of structure and purpose. Making a schedule each day is a good way to get tasks done and feel like you achieved something. An hour in the morning could be dedicated to a workout, another hour or two dedicated to answering emails, and maybe some to learn a new skill or read that book you’ve been putting off. 

It could look something like this:
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.: Workout
10:30 a.m. -- 11 a.m.: Meditate
11:00a.m. --1 p.m.: Answer emails
1 p.m. –2 p.m.: Lunch
2 p.m. -- 4 p.m.: Read 
4  p.m. –5  p.m.: Journal
5 p.m. -- 7 p.m.: Cook and eat dinner

Watch a Funny Show
Who doesn’t love to laugh? It brightens our mood and can even benefit our mental well-being. While what’s going on can cause fear, there are so many other things to smile and laugh about. Turn on a show that makes you giggle. It may help make you forget about what’s happening in the world and give you a good laugh. 

Making little changes throughout your day can help when it comes to improving mental well-being during stressful times. Remember, we are all in this together and this too shall pass. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or people within your community. As always, if you are struggling with your mental health, seek out the help of mental health professionals.