3 Strategies for Managing Mental Health during COVID-19
This is Al Waller, your host for ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health and Wealth. It is no surprise that the pandemic has caused stress for many people. According to a recent report from GoodRx, 63% of people living with depression and/or anxiety that were surveyed reported having worse or much worse symptoms since the start of the pandemic. Joining me is Mihaela Vincze, public health expert for nonprofit Transamerica Institute, here to discuss three strategies we can use to help maintain our mental well-being.
Al: Thanks for joining me, Mihaela. Mihaela: Thank you for having me. Al: With all the pandemic restrictions, what are some ways that individuals can improve their mental health at home? Mihaela: There are a few ways they can improve their mental health, however, before I dive into tips, I think it is important to note that these strategies are not intended to replace guidance from a mental health professional. Al: Yes, thank you for mentioning that! It is so important to follow the advice of a mental health professional! So now about those tips— what do you recommend? Mihaela: The first key strategy I recommend is creating and following a routine. Research shows that we cope better when we keep to a schedule during traumatic times. Sticking to a plan for mealtimes, sleep, productivity, and exercise can help us manage our feelings as it gives us a sense of control. Al: When you say it like that, I can see why it is so important to schedule activities in our days. How can someone stay motivated to stick to the routine? Mihaela: Remember to incorporate things that you enjoy. Think of these as refueling activities to help you positively cope with all that is going on. Sometimes the anxiety of the unknown makes it easy to forget the things you love to do. Make a list and plan to take part in as many as possible. 2 Al: That is a good suggestion, Mihaela. With so many of us still at home, we may underestimate the importance of sticking to a schedule. Are there specific activities you encourage people to schedule? Mihaela: Yes— The second key strategy that I encourage for maintaining mental health is to schedule time to safely socialize. Community is so important for mental health and while physical distancing has transformed our social lives, that does not mean we can’t stay connected. By setting time aside for a phone call or video-chat, you’ll be more inclined to keep it up. Al: Any other tips? Mihaela: Yes—the third strategy I recommend is to try to limit the amount of screen time you get and especially the amount of news you watch. It’s important to stay informed, but sometimes the constant streaming of news stories can be too much. Give yourself a break and have fun through other activities, like a nature walk through your neighborhood. Your mental health will thank you. Al: Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the public? Mihaela: If you find that your life has become unmanageable for whatever reason, there’s no shame in reaching out for help. Virtual therapy is hugely available now that so many of us are physically distancing. There are apps like Talkspace or Betterhelp which can pair you with professional support. Al: Thank you again for joining us, Mihaela. Mihaela: Thank you for having me. Al: This has been another episode of ClearPath Radio – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth. I’m your host Al Waller – thanks for listening