It’s essential to take care of our mental health in these stressful times of lockdown and social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Effective as of April 1, residents in Miami-Dade are staying home after officials ordered them to “shelter in place” until further notice. All non-essential travel within the city is prohibited, except for traveling to grocery stores and pharmacies. Although residents may engage in outdoor exercise, people must practice social distancing all the time
The reality is that Miami residents will have to stay indoors for their own safety, most probably for an extended period. And even though being close to our loved ones gives us a sense of protection, we’re living a time of uncertainty. What we considered “normal life” shifted so rapidly that panic, stress, and anxiety are building among us.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fear and anxiety during pandemics can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. During the outbreak, stress can include extreme fear and worry about your and loved ones’ health, changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems, and even increased use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Additionally, constant concerns about job security and how to survive financially during and after the crisis are stress boosters, considering the economic impact of the pandemic around the world, the country, and to our local economies, as many experts are predicting an economic crash worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
To counteract the impact this situation is having on our mental health, experts advise different practices that we must do during the lockdown period, especially while in our homes
• Take news breaks: stop watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. Do it only once a day.
• Have a routine: eating meals at regular times, sleeping, exercising and remote working at set times, help to build resiliency during traumatic events
• Start an at-home exercise routine: working out at home in these times is an excellent way to stay healthy and kill indoor time. Find workout sources online or in your local gym website; also, many fitness sites are offering free access during this time.
• Maintain social connection: we are social creatures; therefore, in times of social distance, we have to be creative. Pick up the phone and talk or video chat with friends and family; texting and social media chatting is also a good idea.
• Meditate or just stretch and breathe: meditation has lots of research behind it, and it’s been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are a lot of resources online and meditation apps available like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer. But if meditation isn’t for you, just breathing slowly and stretching or doing some yoga moves can be of much help.
• Lastly, try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
Haz clic para leer en Español: Formas de controlar el estrés y la ansiedad durante la pandemia del Coronavirus