As you scroll through the news, you see articles on top of articles about the COVID-19 pandemic. From the death rate to how to protect yourself to what to do while in isolation, it seems like everyone has something to say. However, one crucial piece of the puzzle is often overlooked. That piece is your mental health, and in the dark and uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to know it matters and how it can affect you, which will help you keep it on track.

Don’t Listen To The Haters

There is widespread fear, anxiety, and uncertainty regarding COVID-19. It’s a relatively new disease and a vaccine has yet to be developed. You may feel scared you’ll contact it. You may feel worried about your loved ones and elderly family members. You may even feel like you’re going crazy because of cabin fever. Social distancing and isolation aren’t things you’re used to. You want to go out and see people and do things. Despite this, many people are underemphasizing what this quarantine is doing to us. Don’t listen to them when they tell you mental health issues aren’t real. Know that your mental health matters and it’s okay to not feel okay.

Unstable Mental Health Can Affect You

If your mental health isn’t on track, it can negatively affect your life in a variety of ways. You may have trouble eating or sleeping properly. Increased alcohol, tobacco, or drug use may occur. You may have a difficult time concentrating. Preexisting mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, may worsen. All of this can be incredibly frustrating.

Keeping Your Mental Health On Track

The first thing you need to do is identify what you’re feeling. Are you anxious, depressed, or just very stressed? Once you know what’s going on inside your head, you can work on getting yourself to a better headspace. You should keep a healthy sleep schedule. 7-9 hours is recommended for healthy adults, and children and teens need even more. Eat a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity. Remember that improving your mental health starts with improving your lifestyle. Try to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. They may make your feelings and thoughts even worse. Give yourself time to recharge. We all need some time to relax and take a break from our responsibilities. Try avoiding the news whenever possible if it gives you anxiety. You’ll have peace of mind. Finally, connect with others. Just because you can’t see your friends doesn’t mean you can’t call or text them. It’s important to keep some form of contact while social distancing.

The Mental Health Of Those Around You

You may be reading this not because you’re struggling, but because a loved one is. Try to get them to follow the steps I mentioned above. Talk with them about the outbreak from a scientific and factual standpoint. Help them understand what’s really going on amongst all the fake news. It may ease their fears or make them feel less worried. Normalize their feelings and tell them they’re not alone. Many people feel the same way they do. Finally, try doing some yoga or meditation with them. Many people find these two things help calm their thoughts.

Closing Thoughts

This is an uncertain and scary time. Our mental health has a huge impact on our everyday lives and we have to do our best to keep it on track. Even if you’re not experiencing issues with your mental health, make sure you follow the tips mentioned above. They will ensure you stay healthy and happy during the quarantine. Happy social distancing, everyone.