By now, if you haven’t heard about COVID-19, we’d like to know what rock you’re living under because maybe it’s a safe place to hide out from the virus. COVID-19 is a virus that is not only highly contagious but also has no cure and no vaccine available while it attacks your respiratory system. So yeah, the panic and fear people are feeling over this virus are wholly justified.
While young people do not seem to suffer harsh bouts of the illness or high mortality rates, this virus decimates older populations and immunocompromised people like those with cancer or diabetes. Many of us have loved ones in at least one of these categories, so fear for their health can weigh upon us as we continue to hear more bad news about the rapid spread of COVID-19.
If you’ve found yourself feeling depressed or anxious in the last weeks, you may be feeling the mental and emotional health effects that an impending health risk like COVID-19 poses. It’s essential to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally during this time when fear and panic are so easily induced. Here’s how to stay calm as COVID-19 develops.
Now has never been a better time to strengthen or start a meditation practice. Meditation is all about reigning in your thoughts and not letting your mind run wild. There’s no easier time for your mind to feel out of control than when a health risk is on the horizon, and the news is continually reporting on a frightening issue. Take care of your mind with regular meditation.
Eat Right and Exercise
Study after study has proven how closely linked mental health is to our diets and our exercise habits. In a time when bleak news reports abound, keeping your mental health strong with healthy food and regular exercise is the best insurance available. Are you doing the responsible thing and self-quarantining? Don’t worry, Pinterest is full of at-home workouts, and there are plenty of excellent apps you can use for staying fit while staying home.
Limit News Consumption
This is tough, but it’s also one of the most impactful things you can do to protect your mental and emotional health. Our brains are simply not made for 24/7 news updates; our ancestors lived for millions of years in tiny groups, never communicating or knowing what existed beyond them. We’ve only had the capability to know what’s immediately happening all around the world within less than the last century. Don’t overload your brain with constant updates — instead, pick two times a day when you’ll get your updates and then go live your life during the rest of that time. Do what you should to stay healthy and stop the spread, but keep your mental space open for things besides COVID-19.
Facing something as intense and frightening as a pandemic can take a significant toll on our mental and emotional health. Take some small steps like these to make sure you keep yourself feeling strong, even when the world seems to be out of control. Keeping calm as COVID-19 develops will ultimately help you provide support to others who might be feeling the same fear.