Protect Your Mental Wellness

Everyone is doing what they can to stay healthy during the Coronavirus crisis. However, you shouldn’t overlook your mental wellness. It’s especially important to do what you can to stay mentally healthy while out of your normal routine, such as being at home for days on end. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your mental wellness and lower anxiety during these stressful times.

Limit Information Intake

Of course, it’s important to stay informed right now. However, that does not mean compulsively and obsessively checking every news source and social media post. A non-stop stream of information can cause anxiety and stress. You can lower anxiety by taking breaks from the news and by checking back at specific times during the day, maybe just once or twice. You should also limit your information to trusted sources that stick to the facts.

Stay Connected

While we’re all social distancing from one another, that does not mean you shouldn’t find ways to connect to friends and loved ones. Connectedness is critically important to ward off loneliness. Whether it’s texts, phone calls or video chats, you should reach out to others. If you have someone you can trust to talk about how you’re feeling, they should certainly be on your list!

Take Care Physically

Now is the time to take care of yourself physically as well. Keeping your sleep, nutrition and exercise routines in place will help with your mental health, as well. Maintaining a sense of normalcy in times of uncertainty is especially important. This goes for hygiene as well. Getting up and getting dressed every day, even if it’s in much more comfortable clothes, can help both your mood and motivation level. When you look good, you feel good!

Remember That It’s Okay to Enjoy Things

Remaining in a state of constant despair and anxiety is not going to help anyone. Distract yourself with hobbies and activities you enjoy. Turn off the news and listen to music. Watch silly movies and play video games. Making time to unwind is not being selfish, it’s practicing self-care. Go ahead and dance, laugh, sing, read, garden or any other activity that brings you joy. You should, however, avoid overindulging in alcohol, which is a depressant.

Avoid “Catastrophizing”

Defined as an irrational thought process that escalates events as being far worse than they are, catastrophizing is sometimes hard to avoid during routine life. Now that we are dealing with a global pandemic, it’s easy to get stuck in this negative and stressful way of thinking. There are ways you can stop it. Instead of imagining the worst-case scenario, consider your current reality – you are healthy now, you have the resources you need, you have a place to stay, etc. Limiting news and connecting with others can help stop catastrophizing, too.

Get Involved

There’s a famous quote by Mr. Fred Rogers about frightening situations that says, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Look around and you will see people who are donating time, food, resources or simply sharing positivity. Consider donating or volunteering with an organization that is making a positive contribution, locally or nationally. Studies show that volunteering lowers depression risk and provides a sense of purpose.

Take Advantage of Community Resources

If you or someone you know is having difficulty coping, there are resources you can turn to within Steuben County. Don’t hesitate to contact any of these organizations to find out more about how they can help.

Cameron Psychiatry 260-667-5635 https://www.cameronmch.com/services/psychiatry/

Cameron Family Medicine 260-665-8494 or 260-667-5685 https://www.cameronmch.com/services/family-medicine/

Bowen Center 260-624-3741 https://www.bowencenter.org/steuben-county

Bridges Emotional Wellness Clinic 260-665-6543 https://bridgeewc.com

Northeastern Center 260-665-9494 https://www.necmh.org

The Sante Group 260-668-8797 https://www.thesantegroupinc.com

You can also turn to state and national emergency mental health resources for help.

Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255)

Look Up Indiana 800-284-8439 or text ‘LOOKUP’ to 494949

National Mental Health America 800-969-6642

Reviewed by: Dr. Melchor Mercado, Cameron Psychiatry

Dr. Mercado is a board-certified psychiatrist and neurologist with more than 40 years of experience. He is now accepting new patients aged 15 and older. To schedule an appointment, call Cameron Psychiatry at 260-667-5635.

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