Protecting Your Mental Health During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic flipped everything upside down for almost everyone. With everyone working from home and avoiding social gatherings, it can often feel overwhelming and stressful to process the sudden shift in daily life. If you’re preparing for an administration of the bar exam or attending law school remotely, these feelings can be amplified. No longer going to a classroom or lecture hall can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. Take a second and check out these strategies for protecting your mental health during COVID-19.
Protecting Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Maintain A Routine
If you find yourself not used to working from home, the abrupt transition can be challenging. Creating a new routine will help you feel more productive and separate the border between work and home. It may be convenient to roll out of bed and login to your computer but avoid the temptation! Designate an area for work that is detached from your living space and avoid working on the couch if possible.
Mindfulness is the practice of being intensely aware of your feelings in the present moment. In short, mindfulness is being fully present and aware of what is happening and avoiding an emotional reaction. When we’re mindful, stress is lessened and performance is enhanced. The UCSD Center for Mindfulness has free, guided meditations that provide a great place to start.
Be Kind To Yourself
The value of self-compassion during periods of coping with emotional obstacles and hardship cannot be understated. Acknowledge your struggles from a place of understanding and kindness, instead of from a place of judgment. Recognizing that millions of other people are sharing your quarantine feelings and sensations is a comfort in and of itself.
Maintaining your physical health during this unprecedented time can be a challenge. In many places, gyms are closed, parks are off-limits, and going for a run with a mask on is less than ideal. However, doing your best to maintain your physical health can have huge benefits to overall mood and productivity. For example, sleep is an essential part of your routine. Good quality sleep can increase your immune system, allow you to better manage stress, and help you regulate emotions. In addition to sleep, try to eat a healthy diet with nutritious foods. This can be tough when we’re all at home and the pantry is only a couple of steps away! Lastly, using online or virtual workouts from the comfort of your home can help replace going to the gym.
Take News Breaks
Another downside of being home all day is our constant access to the television. You may find yourself gravitating to it without even being aware. News channels are a great place to check in with occasionally but being glued to the news is a bad idea. You may find yourself getting too caught up in pandemic negativity and becoming upset at the constant updates.
Getting thoughts out of our head and onto paper can turn the worst of days into manageable ones. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, make a daily list of what is going well and what isn’t going well. More often than not, spilling our negative thoughts onto a page makes them suddenly feel less powerful. When negative thoughts are free to run around in your head, they can make all sorts of messes. Taking them and trapping them within the four corners of the page can make you the boss.
This is perhaps one of the best things you can do to protect your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Pick up the phone, send a text, tweet at a friend, or put on a headset and game away! In today’s modern society, staying connected to friends and family has never been easier. Take some time out of your day to check in with people close to you and share how you’re feeling. Chances are, the person on the receiving end is feeling very similar. In times where we need to stay apart in order to come back together, staying connected is fundamental.
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