Staying Mentally Healthy

In these scary and confusing times, it is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is your physical well-being.

According to the CDC, mental health “includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

Lynn Gregory, MCC Personal Counselor, Lynn Gregory says "Many of these strategies are common sense, but sometimes we forget the basics when we are very stressed. Eat and drink healthfully, get adequate sleep for your body, move your body in ways that feel good (exercise), practice meditation and relaxation, reach out for connection and for help if you need it – remember social distancing does not mean social isolation, look for the helpers and be one yourself if you can – and pay attention to attitudes and beliefs – consider incorporating gratitude, compassion for self and others, mindfulness and optimism.”

"I’ve recently been changing my routine in order to stay focused on my studies and other priorities as well (i.e: family and work) by working out at home and running outside. It’s important to take a breather and not be too overwhelmed with what’s going on by talking a walk. It helps clear your mind thoroughly and soothes your stress levels, thus being therapeutic. I do suggest keeping a distance from anybody you encounter just in case though!" Gabrielle Menard '20 Graphic Design

Free Resources to help take care of your mind and your body:

The following suggestions have been compiled directly from the CDC and WHO websites.

The CDC suggests:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of daily activities for several days in a row.
  • Share the facts about COVID-19 to better understand the actual risk to yourself and loved ones.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member.
  • For taking care of your children:
    • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the outbreak. Answer questions and share facts in a way they can understand.
    • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset and share how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
    • Try to keep up with regular routines. Create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
    • Be a role model and follow the advice from above.

WHO recommends:

  • Don’t attach COVID-19 to any ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to those who got affected, in and from any country, those with the disease have not done anything wrong.
  • Don’t refer to people with the disease as “cases”, ”victims”, or “the diseased.” Refer to them as “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, and “people who are recovering from COVID-19.”
  • Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.
  • Find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of local people who have experienced the new coronavirus and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience.
  • Honor caretakers and healthcare workers supporting people affected with COVID-19 in your community. Acknowledge the role they play to save lives and keep your loved ones safe.
  • For children:
    • Help children find positive ways to express disturbing feelings such as fear and sadness.
    • Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible.
  • For older adults:
    • Provide practical and emotional support through informal networks and health professionals.
    • Share simple facts about what is going on and give clear information about how to reduce the risk of infection in words older people with/without cognitive impairment can understand.
    • Encourage older adults with expertise, experiences and strengths to volunteer in community efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak (for example the well/healthy retired older population can provide peer support, neighbor checking, and childcare for medical personnel).
  • For people in isolation:
    • Stay connected and maintain social networks. Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines. Stay connected via e-mail, social media, video conference and telephone.
    • Pay attention to our own needs and feelings.

The CDC also lists signs of mental stress to watch out for:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Signs in children may include:
    • Excessive crying or irritation
    • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown
    • Excessive worry or sadness
    • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
    • Unexplained headaches or body aches
Last Modified: 11/6/20