5 Ways to Care for Your Mental Health During CoronavirusBy Jessica Cassity
It’s hard to escape the rising tide of emotion around COVID-19, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. From sporting-event cancellations to school closures, large-scale changes are happening in real time, adding to feelings of uncertainty. But there are ways to stay calm during the coronavirus outbreak, flattening your personal anxiety curve to a manageable level and keeping your panic from peaking.
Start by selecting a credible outlet, or two, to be your trusted source(s) for updates, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or WHO. Rather than gluing yourself to the TV or internet for news, consider limiting yourself to just one or two update checks a day—and not right before bed. That way you can stay informed without spiraling.
To further help you stay centered during these uncertain times, we’ve assembled some advice for keeping anxiety at bay from Happify’s team of clinicians, scientists, and meditation experts.
Tip #1: Stay Social, Virtually
“Social connections are widely known to be important to life satisfaction, but we often forget they're a crucial buffer to anxiety and depression,” says Matt Sosnowsky, LICSW, a therapist and Happify’s manager of digital therapy. “In times like this, although a lot of things are largely out of our control, often we can still choose how we spend our time.”
Interactions with friends, family, and co-workers can help boost our mood, but with social distancing becoming the new norm, staying connected now may require a bit of extra planning–and Wi-Fi. Set regular communication dates with the people you miss most. Take stock of their various strengths so you know what to expect—some friends are good listeners, while others are better for comic relief. Talking on the phone is fine, but with video calls you can actually enjoy doing activities with your pals, such as following the same dinner recipe from separate kitchens.
If you sort of wish you were home alone—rather than cooped up with roommates, kids, parents, or a partner—take time for yourself, as needed. Wearing headphones, going into separate rooms, or mandating quiet times may help y