No one can argue that these are challenging times. For those who are long sober, or those just entering recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic affects us all. People around the world are experiencing unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty. Collectively, we are facing conditions that would make even the sanest and healthiest among us waver. Financial stress, disruptions to social structures, and the potential for life-threatening illness could impact anyone’s mental wellness. Here, we offer some tips for taking care of your mental health during the pandemic – or at any time!
There is widespread consensus that exercise and movement have massive effects on mental health and well being. Researchers report that exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and improve self-esteem and cognitive function. It can also relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood.
If going to the gym or a yoga studio is not an option at the moment, a simple walk can do the trick. The point isn’t to run a marathon (although great if that’s your thing!), but rather to make a habit of regular movement. We can almost guarantee it will help you feel renewed, no matter what is going on.
Seek Out Support
Evidence has shown that people with robust social networks have better mental health outcomes. If you’ve been cut off from family and friends because of the pandemic, seeking out new avenues for social connection can be vital to staying sane. As hard as it can be, picking up the phone or setting up a virtual hangout can be a lifeline. What’s more – loneliness has been shown to decrease people’s immune function, so there is every reason to get connected during these times! The good news is other people need support as much as you do, so if you feel hesitant, just remind yourself that you are probably doing them a favor too.
Mindfulness. We hear this word thrown around with astonishing frequency—so much so that it seems like becoming more mindful can be a panacea for anything that ails us. Put simply, being mindful simply means being fully tuned in and present to the moment at hand. It is being attentive to where you are, right here, right now. For those of us who have been held captive by the demands of our thoughts and emotions, mindfulness can offer some welcome relief.
It involves the practice of being aware of your thoughts and feelings, and letting them roll by – like cars passing on the road. Instead of letting each thought take you for a ride, try just noting them, and remaining observant and non-judgmental. Over time, we can use this practice to find some real peace, unravel habitual thought patterns, and get free of the mental circus.
Not always the most obvious choice when we feel bad, but taking some time to be helpful to others can offer a quick antidote to anxiety and feeling blue. Research has shown that helping others can significantly boost feelings of wellbeing.
During this time, other people are often struggling as much as you are, and there are many opportunities to be helpful. Calling to see how someone else is doing is easy, quick, and free. Helping an elderly neighbor get groceries or run an errand can also be invaluable. Many people are finding a renewed sense of purpose and community by volunteering at local food banks. If you can’t think of anything to do, a quick search online will probably yield some good suggestions.
For those with serious, ongoing mental health issues, getting outside help will also be a critical component to getting back on track.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Let’s be real – many of us have moments during the pandemic that feel like we are in the midst of a mental health crisis. This IS hard. But for people with a mental health diagnosis, regular care plans may need to be stepped up during this time of increased stress. Getting in touch with your care team, counselor, doctor, or therapist, and discussing your feelings and symptoms can be the first step in finding some peace. Letting people know what is going on with you can be lifesaving.
If you or someone you know needs help, we are here for you. Sober Living Oregon remains a safe space for those with mental health struggles, and we maintain a COVID-free environment.
Sober Living Oregon believes in treating the whole person. We have assembled an unrivaled team of counselors, therapeutic and administrative professionals. Together, we bring decades of experience in connecting people with real solutions and lasting change. Our staff is committed to finding the right treatment plan to suit each individual’s needs.
Get in touch today and learn more about how we can offer you support you with recovery, mental health, trauma, and more.