CareNow® - May 18, 2020

CareNow Urgent Care knows how difficult it can be to maintain mental health when so many are practicing social distancing and isolation.

If you find yourself dealing with an emergency situation, please do not visit our clinics and instead call 911 or visit your local emergency room.

How to maintain your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

It is important to find productive ways to deal with stress and anxiety with so much unknown and changes in day-to-day life happening suddenly.

Here are some recommendations and practical tips to stay mentally well and minimize coronavirus anxiety.

Stay positive and know the pandemic is temporary

As many of us face increasing anxiety and concern about coronavirus and COVID-19, the illness it causes, it’s important to remember that advances in healthcare are on the way and life will slowly return to normal as long as we all follow CDC guidelines around social distancing and wearing protective masks.

Although there’s no way to have a specific timeline, this pandemic is temporary (as past pandemics in history have been). Eventually, we will all be able to return to daily life and activities.

By keeping this in mind it may help relieve anxiety symptoms as we face this environmental stress.

Limit your exposure to the daily news

While it’s important to stay updated, especially locally, watching the news excessively can cause additional and unnecessary anxiety.

Make time for a news check-in up to three times a day to stay up to date with the CDC’s current guidelines, but do your best to not let the news dominate your day.

It’s vital to still enjoy other activities and hobbies that bring joy and help get your mind off the pandemic.

Maintain healthy eating habits and good nutrition

While you’re spending more time at home, it’s important to keep healthy eating habits.

Understandably, this can be challenging since many people find eating as a source of comfort during hard times.

Like many others, it might feel tempting to snack more during the day. If you do, it’s recommended to incorporate unprocessed foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to keep your mind sharp and your immune system in good shape.

Of course, you should also keep a consistent eating schedule that includes drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you find yourself curious how you can help boost your immune system, reach out to your primary provider or nutritionist for advice that’s specific to you and any health conditions you may have.  

Staying active can help relieve stress around the pandemic

While self-quarantining may make it slightly more difficult to stay motivated to work-out as you usually would, staying active is essential during this time.

If possible, spend some time outside by taking a walk and enjoying nature. Fresh air and moving our bodies can help relieve the restlessness of feeling stuck inside. Remember to be sure to maintain 6 feet distance from others walking outside and wearing a mask is recommended if the area you

Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve overall health. As the wellness industry has adapted to the quarantine with “virtual workouts”, there are also plenty of at-home workouts you can find online for free.

While it’s best to talk to your provider about the best methods for you, specifically, you can also find resources online about exercises for those with permanent injuries, disabilities or for those who are overweight.

It’s important to go slow if you are resuming a work-out routine and not overextend yourself. If you do accidentally experience a muscle strain or sprain, CareNow can help evaluate and treat your injury via Virtual Visit.

Most minor injuries can be treated via Virtual Visit, although there will be cases where an in-person visit is necessary for further evaluation, x-ray, etc.

Virtual Visit Check-In

Lastly, while restaurants and shops may be temporarily closed to stop the spread of coronavirus, the great outdoors is still available to the public.

Be sure to check your local county’s updates to see what public spaces are available for visiting. Dog parks and other popular trails may be closed until further direction from local government.

Even if you just take a walk around your neighborhood, fresh air and moving your body can keep you from feeling stuck inside.

Be sure to maintain 6 feet distance from others when outside of your home!

Keeping your brain sharp can help maintain mental stability during this time

Just like all muscles in our body, the brain needs “exercise.”

There are many ways to keep your brain sharp while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Some popular recommendations have been puzzles, journaling, games or reading.

Meditation is also a productive way to keep the brain engaged and sharp.

If you’ve never tried meditation before, there are plenty of videos and applications you can download on your phone that may be helpful.

Keeping a daily routine can improve mental health, too

Keeping a regular routine as much as possible can help create a feeling of normalcy and reduce stress. Be sure to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night at your usual hours before the pandemic began.

While it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, it can boost self-esteem, productivity and confidence by get dressed every morning.

If you’re able to work from home, do your best to replicate or even improve your usual work environment.

Maintain a healthy media diet and trust medical professionals

The amount of information from different sources during this time can be overwhelming and make health-related decisions difficult.

However, thousands of experts are working hard each day to provide us with accurate information on how to proceed with daily life. While it may be tempting, do your best to try not to over or under react.

As a rule of thumb, trust your medical professionals to guide your decisions on social distancing and medical treatment.

One of the best ways to maintain mental health is staying connected with loved ones

Physical distancing (or “social distancing”) doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with the ones you love.

It can be extremely helpful to have a “check-in buddy”. This person is someone you can check in with daily via video chat, phone calls or messaging. By setting a regular time to connect each day to ensure you have that interaction can be especially helpful to stay consistent.

It’s also helpful to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, or arrange for a group friends to do a virtual hang out.

FaceTime, Skype or Zoom programs or applications can help facilitate these virtual visits with friends and family.

Keep busy by enrolling in a free online course

Among YouTube tutorials, blogs and other informational websites, there are countless ways to learn something new or start a new hobby.

Whether you’re looking to gain a new skill or tackle a home project, there are many online classes, courses and resources to help teach you how to approach a project and reach your goal.

If you’re having trouble coping with stress from the coronavirus, ask for help

If anxiety about COVID-19 is starting to affect your daily life, ask a family member, friend or caregiver for help.

Reaching out to others is a great way to connect, which can provide comfort during this time of isolation.

If your anxiety becomes severe or you’re feeling like a danger to yourself or others, please seek professional help immediately. 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 right away.