How To Manage Your Mental Health During Covid-19

October 16, 2020

How to Manage Your Mental Health During Covid-19

By: Randi-Lee Glickman

Much about our daily lives has changed in the past weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic…Let’s take a moment to simply acknowledge this new reality. Each day, we are faced with opportunities that test us in some way. While some of us are enjoying the “free” time, many of us are faced with amplified responsibility and uncertainty. Stress, anxiety and depression are among some of our biggest challenges right now.

Let’s take this one day at a time. We have all heard it and have likely said that exact phrase to someone we tried to console or motivate in the past. It is time to say this to yourself. One day at a time. The root of stress, anxiety and depression vary from person-to-person and from experience-to-experience, however, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself right now.

Bring yourself to the Present Moment.

Try this. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths.

Now ask yourself, What am I thankful for? ...Take a pause…

Maybe today, you are thankful for waking up or that you have coffee to drink. Maybe you are thankful for your family or friends. When you bring your attention to a singular thought, in this case what you are thankful for, you are in the present moment. You are aware. Awareness, or mindfulness, is a very simple way to bring calm into each moment. You may have heard these terms before, but is this something everyone can do? The answer is YES.

Awareness in Action

Focus on the activity you are doing at the moment. If you are washing dishes, only wash the dishes. This means, don’t think about what you need to do after, what happened before, or what may happen later. Just wash the dishes. Feel the warm water on your hands, the texture of the dishes, the slippery soap. If you are folding clothes, only fold the clothes. Feel the warm fabric in your hands, notice the crease in the cloth as you fold, the shift of your weight as you move your arms.

Listen to Music

Try this. Listen to this fast paced song called "Flight of the Bumblebee"

Using descriptive words, how do you feel? Excited, happy, anxious, energized?

Now listen to this slow paced Calm Piano song.

Using descriptive words, how do you feel? Calm, relaxed or wanting to move more slowly?

Our energy and heart beats synchronize to music. Depending on the speed and intensity of the song we are listening to, our energy will increase or decrease and so will our heart rate. According to the article Releasing Stress Through the Power of Music, “Researchers at Stanford University have said that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication." This direct correlation between our energy, heartbeat and music is another very easy way to positively affect your emotional state.

These are just a few suggestions that we can all start using right away to bring awareness to the present moment. This is a practice, and with any process that is worth it, this will take time. It starts slow and then becomes a habit that you will never want to be without. You may notice small changes at first and then larger changes in regards to your emotional state. Perhaps you will have more patience when faced with conflict or challenge. Or maybe you will start to see that taking brief moments to be present throughout the day helps you enjoy the little things instead of overlooking them. Remember that taking time to yourself to relax is vital to your health, both mental and physical.

*Please know that this article should not take the place of your doctor’s recommendations. The suggestions listed are not a replacement for any prescribed medication or advice from your mental health specialist. The options listed above are considered alternative therapies and should not take the place of any treatments or assessments by your PCP or mental health specialist.

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