By Kaitlyn Mercy
The World is a Stressful Place…
The entire world feels on edge right now, as we continue to face uncertainty during this stressful time of COVID-19, which has been deemed a pandemic by the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Things like social distancing, school, business, and work closures, and even large companies implementing isolation and work from home policies, all cause major disruption to our daily routines, and everything feels a little chaotic right now.
As we face our new reality for the time being, it’s important to find new ways to protect our mental health and stay connected to others.
What Do The Experts Say?
The Center for Disease Control has issued a list of recommendations for keeping you and those around you physically safe, as well as protecting vulnerable and high-risk populations like immunocompromised individuals and older generations.
- Wash your hands regularly, for 20 seconds with antibacterial soap and water. Do this especially after coughing or sneezing, before and after preparing food, when caring for someone who is ill, and when your hands are visibly dirty. According to the World Health Organization, washing your bare hands is significantly more effective in stopping the spread than wearing gloves.
- Maintain social distancing by keeping a minimum of three feet between yourself and others. Do not shake hands, hug, high five, or come in close physical contact with others.
- Avoid touching your face. Hands touch surfaces all day long, and can easily pick up viruses. Touching your face with hands that have touched all sorts of surfaces makes it easier for bacteria, germs, and viruses to enter your system.
- If it’s at all possible for you to stay home, stay at home. Unless you are purchasing essentials, seeking medical care, or exercising (while maintaining social distancing), do everything in your power to stay at home.
- If you are experiencing a fever over 100.4, a cough, and difficulty breathing, contact your primary care physician immediately.
Tips for Practicing Self-Care During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Here are a few ideas for taking care of yourself in an effort to avoid getting too overwhelmed:
- Take a Break From Social Media
Even without a pandemic occurring, social media can be a time trap and spark feelings of unworthiness or anxiety; But with the entire world seemingly in crisis, it’s not hard to get caught up in people’s panic posting, informative posts, and news articles that maybe don’t always have the most accurate information in them.
It’s okay to take a break from the internet if you need to. Put your phone down, close your laptop, and take a deep breath. Consider temporarily deleting certain apps if they’re being more stressful than supportive. You are not required to maintain a social media presence or constantly be “plugged in”.
- Check-in With People Close to You
Even though you may not be able to physically knock on someone’s door, you can still reach out for support when you need it. Not only will checking in with those you love and care for bring you support and community, it will let others know you’re thinking of them during a stressful time.
- Do Yoga or Another Type of Healthy Movement
Being in isolation means no gym trips, no yoga classes, and limited opportunities to be active. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, physical movement and exercise are extremely important for improving and positively impacting mental health.
Here are some ideas for movement during isolation:
Yoga is a great way to stay grounded while also moving and staying active. Yoga With Adriene is a fantastic YouTube channel with themed yoga flows for every occasion, and there are tons of other free, online flows if you’re not a fan of her videos.
- Get Outside
Depending on the local restrictions put in place near your home, you are most likely still able to leave your home while maintaining appropriate distancing from other people. The Center for Disease Control recommends keeping six feet between you and others, especially in public. Take this time to hike a new trail, take your dog or kids outside (even if it’s just the backyard), or find a quiet spot in a park to sit and read for a while.
- Make The Internet Your New Gym
Just like yoga videos, there are tons of resources on the internet for virtual workouts. A quick Google or YouTube search will reveal thousands of videos for everything from core workouts to walking meditations.
- Set a Timer
Especially if you’re working from or stuck at home, you need to make time to move. Set a timer to go off once every hour, and then spend five minutes running in place, stretching, or finally moving your dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher.
- Feel Your Feelings
A lot of feelings are coming up for everyone surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, whether they’re showing them or not. It’s okay to be stressed out or to feel helpless in this situation. Routine has been disrupted, everything is closed, and it’s a scary time to be alive.
Don’t bottle your feelings up, whatever they are. They don’t have to be the same as everyone else’s, and you certainly don’t have to be calm and collected 100% of the time. Write your feelings down in a journal, do an art project, or call a friend and talk to them about what you’re going through.
- Find Ways to Stay Connected
This is one of those times to take advantage of social media as a tool to stay connected to the outside world. Many artists, musicians, and authors are hosting workshops and live events on Facebook, Instagram, and Skillshare.
Take this time to also write a letter to someone you care about, respond to the texts and emails that have been sitting in your inbox, or schedule a video call with someone.
- Know That You’re Doing Enough
In times of crisis, I often feel overwhelmed and helpless. This is one of those times. Am I doing enough to keep myself safe? Am I supporting others as much as I can? Am I being too paranoid?
I have to stop my racing brain and take a deep breath. There’s only one thing we can do during this extremely stressful time: Our best. Know that you’re not required to keep up a social media presence, to be positive all the time, or to have it all figured out.
Staying Calm Amidst The Chaos
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. Nothing feels normal, and you’re not required to act like it does. One of the most important things to remember as updates about COVID-19 continue to unfold is this: You are not facing this alone.
It’s an extremely rare occurrence for everyone in the world to be experiencing a version of the same thing, but that is what’s happening right now. Every individual in the world is facing some form of the stress and anxiety that results from a global pandemic like this.
We will recover from this.
How Sandstone Care is Helping
Sandstone Care is continuing to provide Detox, Teen Residential, PHP, IOP, and Sober Living services during the COVID-19 Pandemic while taking the necessary precautions to keep our clients and team members safe. In an effort to remain accessible, we are also offering virtual IOP services.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health concerns during the COVID-19 Pandemic and would benefit from professional treatment services, please reach out to our admissions line at Phone: (202) 816-7435.