This is from WebMD, but it seemed worth sharing the first one and directing you to their website for the other 4:
These are challenging times for our mental and emotional well-being. The stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak have been difficult enough, and now the social distancing requirements have led to profound changes in our daily routines. You may be feeling the strain already—personally it only took about two days before the stress and disruption led to tension between my wife and me. It’s hard to find your equilibrium when everything feels upside down.
Every life situation is bringing its own unique challenges during this time. Countless college students are living at home again, separated from their friends and partners. Parents are doing their best to homeschool their kids while working from home themselves. Single people are struggling with the unprecedented social isolation. And all of us are faced with daily uncertainty about how long this crisis will last and where it will take us, individually and collectively.
So many of the routines and activities we took for granted have suddenly fallen away: commuting to work, going to class, hanging out with friends, shopping in stores, going to the gym. Now that our lives have been stripped down, we need to be very intentional about protecting our mental health. Here are five key practices to guard your heart and mind during this crisis.
1. Be Good to Your Body
Mental health starts with physical wellness. A growing body of research supports our intuitive understanding that the mind and the body are intimately connected. The following areas are especially important:
Make sleep a sacred priority. Give yourself enough time in bed to get the rest you need (typically seven to nine hours). Stick to a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible, resisting the tendency to let your schedule fall apart if you don’t have daily commitments. Build in a technology-free winding down routine for 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
Move every day. Now that gyms are closed and our activities are so limited, it’s easy to become inactive and not realize that you’re barely moving throughout the day. Find a way to move. Go for walks every day if you’re still allowed to where you live—we’ve been scheduling short hikes with our kids each afternoon. Look into online exercise or yoga videos, or bust out those ballroom dancing home instruction videos you’ve been meaning to get to. Consistent physical activity is well known to lower stress and anxiety and improve mood, not to mention strengthening your immune system.
Feed your body and mind. Speaking of your immune system, choose healthy food options like vegetables and fruits, and avoid highly processed foods and refined sugar. Resist the pull toward letting your diet turn to rubbish during this time. Limit your alcohol consumption, and beware of too much caffeine, which can aggravate stress and anxiety. If you’re aiming to eat better, focus on making one improvement to one meal at a time, and gradually build from there. Good nutrition is good not just for your body but for your mind and emotions.