Mental Health Tips During Uncertain Times
Stress is a normal reaction to the everyday demands of life. You're likely familiar with the physical and mental symptoms you experience when you're understaffed and working long hours. Everyone reacts just a little differently to situations that stretch your physical, emotional, and mental abilities. While it is normal to experience stress during a crisis, the multiple challenges you're likely facing at work and at home may be pushing your coping strategies to the limit.
Signs you may need to incorporate a few more approaches to sustain your mental and physical health during the pandemic include:
· Difficulty sleeping
· Difficulty concentrating
· Increasing anxiety
· Increasing irritability
· Increasing body aches and pains
Here are some self-care tactics you'll find are good for your mental and physical health. When you take control of your health, you'll feel more in control, which in turn helps reduce anxiety levels and benefits your mental and physical health.
Let's Get Physical!
Your physical health significantly impacts your mental and emotional health. By taking care of your body, you are also taking care of your mind and your ability to cope with changing situations.
Your body needs from 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night to clean out metabolic byproducts, rest, and support your ability to cope. Six hours of quality sleep is better than 8 hours of poor sleep. Seek to sleep in a dark room. If you work nights, try a sleep mask. Turn off your computer and phone at least two hours before bed and use blue-blocking lenses after sunset to help boost your melatonin production. Melatonin is important to quality sleep and acts as an antioxidant to help maintain your health.
Regular activity outside of running around at work can help reduce anxiety and improve your mood. Consider exercising in green spaces, such as a park or hiking on a nature trail, as it has added mental and physical health benefits.
Your body is only as strong as the nutrition you feed it. Seek out whole foods and steer clear of processed junk foods and snacks loaded with sugar. Limit your caffeine intake as your body builds a tolerance, and you require more and more to get the same effect. Limit your tobacco and alcohol intake as they are toxins that add physical stress.
Mind Over Matter
It's also important to make a conscious effort to take care of your mind by limiting triggers you know increase your stress level.
Keeping a routine for meals, sleep, and exercise helps improve the predictability in your life and increases your feelings of control.
Limit the news
Constant attention on anything you perceive as negative will increase anxiety and reduce your ability to cope. Instead, limit your exposure to national and local recommendations. These are actions you can control and help reduce anxiety.
Set reasonable goals and actions and then prioritize the list. Focus on one thing at a time, instead of being overwhelmed by everything you want to do. For example, if you're focused on changing your sleeping habits, don't try to completely overhaul your eating habits at the same time. Prioritize what you want to do and spend a couple of days getting it right before moving on to the next thing.
It's All About Connecting
Humans don't do well when we're alone. Take the time to support and strengthen the connections and relationships you have with others. Even while practicing social distancing, you can:
· Video chat with family and friends
· Send letters or cards in the mail
· Do something to help a neighbor, like mow the yard or make a meal
· Organize a special delivery for people in skilled nursing facilities
· Go grocery shopping for a friend who can't get out
· Be sure to text and email your friends
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