Tools to Thrive During COVID

We are living in unique times. Amidst social distancing, abundant information (good and bad) about the coronavirus, and changes in our daily living patterns, the greatest toll can be on our mental well-being. For social people, not being able to connect with friends and loved ones in the usual way can erode feelings of well-being and interfere with one’s sense of security. Connecting with others and creating healthy routines are important steps to take to help stay on top mentally.
Connect With Others—
Normally, Americans spend 2.5 hours per day watching television and only half an hour per day socializing. Because of the pandemic and social distancing orders, even less time is spent socializing so it is important to find other ways to connect. Phone calls, texting, social media, emails, and video chats are all ways of keeping in touch with others. Try taking a walk around your neighborhood. It’s possible to chat with neighbors from a distance and still feel connected. Even if you think your situation is fine, there may be someone who could benefit from hearing from you. It’s the connections we make with others that enrich our lives and get us through tough times. Try to spend at least one-half hour a day connecting with others.
Create Healthy Routines
Studies show that people with more daily routines have lower levels of distress when facing problems with their health or negative life events. When it comes to diet, sleep, and exercise, having good, strong routines is linked to improved mental and physical health By creating routines, we organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think about them.
We don’t all have the same schedules or responsibilities and some of us struggle with certain parts of daily life more than others, so it is important to create a routine that’s right for you. All healthy routines should include eating a nutrition-rich diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Your routine may not look the same every day, but establishing a pattern will help keep you motivated and grounded.
If your schedule is non-existent and you don’t really have a routine, start small. Pick one small thing each week to work on. It could be adding something new and positive, or cutting out a bad habit. Small changes add up.
Think about things you do during the day that aren’t so healthy and swap them for better behaviors. For example, if you feel sluggish in the afternoon and usually reach for a sugary snack for a pick-me-up, try going for a walk to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing.
Make time for the things you enjoy, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Little habits are key to strong mental health.

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