COVID-19 and Mental Health
The 12 Step Plan to Managing Crisis Fatigue & the Stress of an Ongoing Pandemic
Compiled by Dr. Steven Valle and Charlotte Foudy, M.A.
Seek mental health care
It is natural to feel anxiety, depression, grief, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seek professional help if life begins to feel overwhelming, hopeless, or despairing.
Establish structure and a routine
Stick to it as much as realistically possible. Humans thrive on schedules and the natural motivation that impels us to do the next thing.
Set both short term and beyond the immediate goals. Re-evaluate and adjust longer term goals as reality dictates.
Take care of your health
Eat healthy and smart, exercise, sleep, and rest. Minimize screen time and get outside whenever possible. Take at least a fresh breath of air once a day. Feel the sun, rain, or the breeze on your skin, and enjoy it!
Find ways to build community
Reach out to others, safely. Maintaining positive connections with others fights isolation. Think of creative ways to connect with others whether in person or online.
Know your sources of information and depend on trusted ones. Frequent COVID-saturated social media use during the pandemic was found to be related to negative mental health effects. Try to strike a balance with what you digitally consume.
Self-expression has been shown to reduce stress, lessen depression and anxiety, and even improve immune system functioning.
Things will get better! As more people are vaccinated and medical advances in treatment for COVID-19 are made, life will begin to return to normal.
Stretch your comfort zones
Try something new and hone a new “pandemic skill.”
Practice Mindfulness & Spirituality
Breathing, Meditation, Contemplation, Centering, Prayer, Faith, and Gratitude all have show to increase positive emotions and lessen stress.
Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you. Also, practice positive affirmation. Don’t be hard on others or yourself. We are all just doing the best we can during this once in a lifetime ongoing pandemic.
Nurture your meaningful relationships
Be encouraging and supportive. Find safe ways to be helpful and improve the life of others. Make that phone call that you have been meaning to make or write that note that you have been wanting to write. Help your neighbor. Don’t wait and do it today.
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