WRITTEN BY Dr Jennifer Woodworth, PsyD “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” Mentalhealth.gov
Sometimes we wait until we are experiencing a mental health challenge, illness, or emergency before we reach out for help. Awareness can start by knowing the most common signs and symptoms that are negatively impacting our current level of functioning. Attached are common signs of anxiety and depression, mental health crisis information, and some general statistics about mental health. How do we take care of ourselves during this time when we can feel so disconnected from our community and resources? There are so many things we are NOT able to do, it seems so limiting and restrictive. Here are some ideas that we CAN do on a daily basis. (Just remember to be flexible. It’s okay to have a day where you binge watch that t.v. show you haven’t had time for, take naps with your fur baby, snack, stay in your pj’s, or eat cereal for dinner!)
Below are some suggestions to is to maintain your mental health while you are social distancing to protect your physical health. Stay safe and stay healthy!
ROUTINE Anchor your day with a consistent wake-up time, bedtime, and meal times. This can help keep to a somewhat normal schedule and keep your body in the best physical and mental health.
MINDFULNESS “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” – John Kabat-Zinn What is one way that you can be consciously present, on purpose, in the moment each day? Mindfulness is a state of mind, not a particular action or exercise. It is a non-judgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment, including the awareness of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and sensations. An example of mindfulness would be going for a walk and noticing how your body moves and feels with each step. Open up to your surroundings; what do you hear, smell, see, or feel? You can use mindfulness with just about anything you do and it takes practice.
LEARNING What is one thing you learned today? It could be something you learned about yourself, a family member, or a neighbor. It might be something profound or something silly. Maybe you learned something about cooking, gardening, wood-working, drawing, DIY crafts, or photography. Think about learning in a broad way – take a virtual tour of a museum, zoo or state park, learn a new game, look up facts about people you admire.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GET MOVING! Do something physical for 30 minutes and get your blood flowing. We know that exercise can boost our moods by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain, so let’s help ourselves out! There are many videos online for free that can be utilized on a daily basis. Yoga, stretching, cardio, strength training can all be done from the comfort of our own homes.
EXPRESSING GRATITUDE Keep a daily list of things you are thankful and try not to repeat things. Social distancing focuses on the things that you cannot have, places you cannot go, celebrations you have to postpone, and people you cannot have contact with. Shifting your thoughts to being thankful can help focus on the people you love, the things you do have, the technology that allows us to have contact, and our overall resilience.
FAMILY TIME Playing a game, watching a movie, reading books, building Legos, singing, dancing, etc. Be present with your family, learn something about each family member, exercise together, show gratitude (see how each thing can be modified).
CONNECT WITH OTHERS Now is a great time to reach out through phone, text, or video to check in with family or friends that you aren’t able to visit in person. Start a virtual book club, social hour, coffee and breakfast club, or nightly story time for your kids.
SAVE ENERGY Turn off those devices and save energy! Make sure lights are off, appliances unplugged as necessary, and limit technology to save energy. Maybe even try a tech-free day! It’s all about balance! Learn more about our Behavioral Health Services Our integrated behavioral health care includes psychiatry and medically assisted drug treatment services. To make an appointment call 1-833-867-4642 or schedule online. Read full article here: Mental Health General Info - Neighborhood Healthcare
Resources Mental Health Crisis Information
Statistics of mental health information: