As COVID-19 drags on and continues to alter our lives, it’s important to continually check your mental and physical health and to pursue your goals in these areas. It is easy for many of us to slip into a depression – even a mild depression – if we are still working from home, if we are out of work entirely, and if our daily routine has been altered. These are all very real problems and situations and it’s important to recognize that these are not easy times and to think of specific and concrete ways to cope with all of these changes.

Mental Health Suggestions: Even a person who has never thought of his mental health or dealt with these issues in any way may find himself feeling challenged during these long 18 months. The isolation, the insecurity, the constant changes are enough to make any person feel that they are on shaky ground with their mental health. Of course, this is even more so for the person who was already struggling with mental health issues. Here are a few suggestions for keeping yourself mentally fit during these trying times.

  1. Routine and connection: Try to establish a routine that allows you to check in with other people daily or weekly (depending on your needs). Perhaps you set up a coffee date (whether that’s inside or outside a café, or at your house) every week with the same friend. Perhaps it’s just a phone call each week that you know you will make (or receive) at the appointed time. Creating consistent connections and communications with others can help you to talk about your feelings and to know that there is a check in each week that will help you to unwind and communicate.
  2. Prescriptions: Because of the supply chain around the world, many people have been finding it difficult to get the medicines and other items they need. If you take medicine for your mental health, make sure your prescriptions are always up to date and that you purchase the medicines early. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need your anti-depressant medication tomorrow and can’t find a place to fill the prescription.
  3. Getting outside yourself: It seems counter-intuitive, but when you aren’t feeling your best or you’re having trouble with your mental health, it’s often helpful to try to help others. Research has shown that helping others elevates your energy and your dopamine levels and allows you to start feeling better. Whether this means that you volunteer once a month or once a week at a soup kitchen, that you call an older, housebound person every week or that you adopt an animal, getting outside of yourself can help you.

Physical Health Suggestions: It’s just as important to keep your physical health up during these trying times. And this can often be difficult, as we all slip into less-healthy patterns when we aren’t feeling mentally well. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your physical health in check.

  1. Exercise: Obviously, the first order of business is to ensure that you exercise. If your gym has been closed or you just can’t get yourself there, start looking at YouTube videos. You’ll be amazed by the free resources on this platform and the opportunities to move your body from the comfort of your house. You can also go for a simple walk. It’s even better if you find a friend and the two of you walk together.
  2. Sleep: It’s hard to sleep when you are stressed or depressed, but sleep it vitally important for a healthy body. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Use a white noise machine if it will help you to sleep, put your phone down an hour before you want to sleep, read a book or drink warm decaffeinated tea.
  3. Water and food: Make sure you’re eating a heathy and balanced meal plan. Water intake can make a difference in your attitude, your hydration levels, your headaches and so much more. Similarly, eating whole grain foods and cutting out the junk can really help you to feel better and cope with the day with more energy and serenity.

Of course, if you find yourself needing even more assistance, it’s important to speak to a professional. These techniques for emotional and physical wellbeing should help people who are simply feeling a bit lost in the long journey that COVID-19 has taken all of us on at the moment.