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Contributors to this article from Inspira Behavioral Health Services include:
David Moore, RN, MSN, BCE, Nicole Moore, LCSW, Susan Speranza, LCSW and Darren McMahon, LCSW, LCADC
The rapid community spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has led to unprecedented numbers of people either unemployed, unsure of their job status or working from home.
This sudden change in day-to-day routine can be detrimental to our mental health if left unattended. A rocky transition into this new way of life is to be expected, but many of the bumps can be smoothed out by being mindful of your mental well-being.
Below, Inspira Mental Health Services shares some of the best ways to sustain your mental health during this time.
Stay Connected with Friends
Just because you’re stuck inside, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be isolated from the outside world.
We’re lucky enough to live in a time where we have the technological capabilities to stay connected via video chat and phone calls at the touch of a button. We should take full advantage of these technologies to stay connected with family and friends.
Many activities can be “virtualized” with ease, offering the opportunity to connect with friends and family from different physical locations. Virtual coffee dates, classes and meetings are just a few examples of virtual “face-to-face” opportunities.
If your job’s physical office has been forced to close due to COVID-19, you may be working from home for the foreseeable future. With the lines between work and home becoming so blurred, the possibility of experiencing burnout is heightened.
Trying to avoid burnout can be tricky. The best way to combat this is by setting boundaries, both in terms of space and time. Only do your work in a certain area in your house, and be aware of working too far past normal time.
Set a Schedule
Develop a routine. If you normally go to an office or school every weekday, you are used to having a schedule, from wake-up time, to meal times, free time, and a bedtime. Developing a new schedule and structure may help you feel like you are accomplishing tasks and give you some sense of normalcy.
Regulate Your News Intake
With a television playing in the background of your workspace, or the radio turned up high, the news can become a constant source of information — or stress. Our constant access to the internet, both through our computers and phones, only makes this information more readily available.
Scheduling a ‘news break’ once per day to catch up on what is going on is a healthy way to regulate how much time and worry you’re dedicating to the news cycle, while still staying informed.
Leaving the house doesn’t have to be for the sole purpose of going to a store. During government stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, exercising outside is generally allowed, and even encouraged. Or, simply bringing your laptop outside to do work for an hour or two can supply your body with critical Vitamin D. Just remember to observe social distancing even when outside.
Inspira Mental Health Services offers counseling to those age 5 and older. We know that our patients might need extra support at this time due to coronavirus-related stressors especially when they have underlying emotional difficulties that may be exacerbation by the need to stay-at-home or fear of COVID-19. At Inspira, we offer clients the opportunity to continue or initiate therapy via a telehealth platform. For more information on current appointment availability call 1-800- INSPIRA.