As we continue to practice social distancing, it’s important to remember to check-in on your mental health and wellbeing. Spending more time indoors and away from other people is important for our physical health right now, but it can also lead to feelings like loneliness, frustration, sadness and boredom. In these uncertain times, make sure you give yourself some extra attention and kindness to combat any potential negative impacts on your mental health. In this blog, we share tips and easy activities you can do each day to show yourself some love and better manage feelings of loneliness, stress and anxiety.
Brittany Kroeger, LSCSW, is Clinical Director at KVC Hospitals Kansas City where she oversees therapeutic services for youth receiving psychiatric treatment. Kroeger provides instructions below on how to implement new coping skills and activities that will help you confront your worries and care for your mental health. These skills encourage resilience to make you better equipped to handle difficulties surrounding COVID-19 as well as any future challenges life may throw your way. Check out Kroeger’s tips below!
Manage Stress & Anxiety About Coronavirus with These Tips:
- Nature therapy: Get some time outside! Fresh air and daylight can reduce stress. Sit outside and read a book or listen to music, go on a hike, walk your dog, or work from your porch.
- Move your body: Exercise improves mood and reduces anxiety and depression. Moving our bodies prevents stress from accumulating in our bodies and helps improve brain function, structure and connectivity.
- Set a routine: Create a routine or daily schedule that works for you and do your best to stick to it. Structure and routine help us thrive!
- Stay connected: Try having a virtual social gathering. You can use social apps and video calls to stay connected with friends and family. This connection can boost your mood and feelings of belonging.
- Be careful with social media: Limit the amount of time that you spend on social media. Moderation is key! Constant scrolling on social media can lead to feeling more disconnected.
- Express yourself: Try different activities that allow you to express yourself. Decorate your sidewalk with chalk to create positive messages for others to read as they walk by. Listen to uplifting music, color pictures, paint, journal, dance, practice yoga, etc. Whether you’re a beginner or pro, these activities help encourage creativity, imagination and improve overall wellbeing.
- Fact check: There’s a lot of misinformation out there. Visit trusted sites for information, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Getting facts can help ease fears and bring a different perspective. Don’t overwhelm yourself with information—it’s important to stay informed but take breaks when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself: This new routine will take time to figure out. So, that long to-do list that you have? Give it time. Don’t expect to be super productive right away. For now, we are all learning a new way of life. Be patient with yourself and be proud of what you do accomplish.
- Teletherapy: Seek support—even if it’s short term. Many clinicians are still conducting therapy sessions via telehealth options (such as FaceTime, Zoom, WebEx and Skype). Your brain health is just as important as your physical health!
- Get adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep can provide many benefits to your physical and mental health. Healthy amounts of sleep keep your energy levels up, improve your mood, and helps combat anxiety and depression.
- Mindful eating: Stress can lead to over-eating or not eating enough. If stress causes you to overeat, it may be helpful to write down your feelings when the urge to overeat arises. By doing this, you may discover what’s bothering you. If stress causes you to lose your appetite, it may help to schedule five or six smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. Paying attention to how you feel when you eat, and what you eat, is one of the first steps in making sure you’re getting well-balanced meals and snacks.
- Practice compassion: Breathe. Acknowledge your feelings. You are allowed to feel scared, angry, anxious and worried. Your feelings are valid. Remember to give yourself grace during this difficult, uncertain time. Be kind to yourself and others—we’re all in this together.
The Impact on Children’s Mental Health
Managing stress and anxiety about coronavirus can feel like a huge task. These meaningful tips and activities can help you take small steps one day at a time so that you feel more in control. If you have kids, try these activities together or give them space to try them out on their own. Having open, honest communications about what you can do to help them feel better.
If you know a child between ages 6 to 18 who is struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or the impacts of trauma, KVC Hospitals can help. We are remaining open and accepting new referrals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have worked diligently to expand our capacity with 92 new treatment beds throughout Kansas for both inpatient acute psychiatric hospitalization and residential treatment programs. For more information, call our Admissions team at (913) 890-7468, email them at email@example.com, or learn more at www.kvchospitals.org.