Keeping mentally healthy during COVID-19
April 21, 2020
The Covid-19 Pandemic has brought so much for society to face: death, fear, isolation — uncertainty for what’s to come in the future. For some, these factors are sparking anxiety and stress at a higher rate than usual.
The change to online school is overwhelming for some students. Others are struggling with social distancing and being away from friends they used to see every day. Other reasons can include lack of activity or too much screen time.
“People are spending more time on their phone or watching movies and screens…and it is pretty highly researched that that isn’t good for your mood,” therapist Meredith Little said.
Little, a therapist in the Charleston area with a master’s degree in clinical psychology, holds at-home calls for clients to help work through this difficult time. But not everyone has access to a professional to help with anxiety and stress. There are ways at home to cope with these issues and to keep you on track.
According to Little, having a schedule is the best way to keep organized. Make a routine in your head that you can follow on weekdays.
“Have a wake-up time, you know I’m not saying you have to wake up at 7 a.m., just have a time that you set that you wake up by and get ready for the day,” she said.
Within their schedule, Little said, students also should have reminders to eat healthy and drink water. Exercising or even going on walks can be a big help as well.
It’s also important to not sit in pajamas all day, Little said, advising that getting dressed and ready will make you feel more motivated and you will be less likely to get back in bed. Adding small things into your schedule can make a huge difference in your stress and anxiety levels.
“Journaling, giving yourself a space to kind of process what’s going on and put words to the fear. I think that meditation or breathing Apps are really helpful,” Little said. “There is one called calm that is just an app on your phone that’s just guided relaxation.”
While in quarantine, finding motivation can be difficult. For teens in particular, home becomes a place for relaxation and school work combined, and it can be difficult to find a balance.
“In the morning if you’re having a motivation issue, move your body first before you have to do school work. Even if that’s just you go on a walk around the block or do some stretching or yoga,” Little said. “Because once you start moving it’s easier even just for your brain to feel like doing something.”
Covid-19 has taken many things from society, graduation days, jobs, the normalcy of everyday life. But by working to improve stress and anxiety levels, you prevent it from taking over your mental health as well.
“Remember that this is not going to last forever,” Little said. “It just feels like that but it’s not.”