Have you taken emotional inventory yet today? There’s a lot going on and it’s easy to forget the importance of self-care in times like these, but it’s never been more important to make sure you are doing ok. The state of the world is taking a toll on all of us, and it’s more important than ever to make sure we are maintaining our social bonds and taking care of our mental health.

Throughout most of the world people are being asked to socially distance or quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately many of us don’t fully understand what is being asked of us. Yes, you should be working or doing school from home if that’s a possibility. If it’s not, you should only be going to work if your job is essential and it’s being done safely. But it’s also ok to take your dog for a walk, go for a hike in some places, and talk to your neighbors from a safe distance. 

In fact, getting out of your house and talking to other people is actually pretty important for your mental health. You can call people on the telephone instead of texting them, which can give you a greater connection. Even better, do a video chat with your friends and family at regular intervals so you can see some new human faces once in a while.

Establishing a daily routine, even if it’s different from your normal routine, is really important. As tempting as it is to work from home in bed wearing your pajamas, that’s not the best thing for your long-term mental health. Getting up at the same time each morning, showering, and changing into normal clothes helps to set the tone for your day. Eating regular meals at regular mealtimes instead of eating a bag of cookies whenever you are starving or bored helps you maintain a sense of normalcy in your life. 

Getting regular exercise is really important when it comes to releasing the stress these times are bound to create. It doesn’t have to be anything overly complicated, and in fact it’s also important not to overdo it. Going for a walk or doing some yoga will help you release some of your pent up stress and get your life back on track.

If you are fortunate enough to be working from home, make sure you aren’t working from an area where you would normally sleep or relax. Set up a designated working place so you can “go to the office” and “leave the office” at your normal time each day. Save the couch for unwinding after work and your bed for sleeping.

For people who are already dealing with mental health problems, the added stress of a pandemic can exacerbate their unhealthy behaviors and symptoms. For these populations, it’s crucial to focus on handling mental health issues as they arise.

Learn more about protecting your mental health in a pandemic from the infographic below. We will get through this together!