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Maintaining Your Mental Health While Social Distancing

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 18, 2020 — 3 min read
Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health right now as the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacts more and more aspects of our daily lives.
Whether you live alone or with family, social distancing can place an added strain on an already stressful situation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
  • Fear and worry about your health and the health of loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
First and foremost, if you have a pre-existing mental health condition, it is important that you continue with your current treatment - even if it is over the telephone or a computer.

Here are some other strategies during these tough times:
  • Avoid news overload. With so much news on coronavirus hitting us from every direction, it can trigger stress and anxiety. Consider taking a break from the news, including social media, to do something you enjoy and you know will make you feel better – read a book, watch a silly show, meditate.
  • Exercise and get some fresh air. You can still go outside! Take a walk around your block, ride your bike, sit in your backyard or on your porch with a cup of tea. A little bit of the outdoors can go a long way for your mental health.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, get plenty of sleep. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Keep a routine. Keeping a regular schedule of activities can help maintain a sense of control and can also feel reassuring in times of uncertainty.
  • Connect. Even if you can’t meet up in person, you can still call or video chat using your mobile device or computer. If you live with someone, talk about your concerns and think about fun things to do together like playing a game.
  • Relax. Find ways to unwind doing something you enjoy.
If you are working from home, you may also want to take a few steps to help maintain your mental health:
  • Separate work from relaxation. Find a place that is only used for work. Work there. Relax somewhere different.
  • Maintain regular work hours. Keeping a set schedule can help you maintain work-life balance.
  • Set ground rules for those who live with you. With the kids home too, having set expectations can help both of you. Plus, many schools want the kids to keep up with assignments online. Keep business and school hours at the same time.
  • Take breaks. When you work from home, this one can be easy to forget. But it’s important. Schedule 10 to 15 minutes mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Walk around. Stretch. Step away from the computer.
  • Go outside. Again, step outside even if only for a minute and just breathe.
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