As much of the world approaches the first anniversary of experiencing COVID-19 challenges, numerous people find themselves facing unique health challenges.
At least half of the people report that they’ve experienced physical or mental health challenges because of the new coronavirus.
Although the COVID-19 vaccines provide us with a light at the end of the tunnel, many still face numerous challenges. That’s why the focus should be to take care of yourself first.
It’s almost impossible to take care of others when you’re not in a place of physical and mental health. That’s why you’ll want to check-in with yourself frequently while managing the current challenges of the day.
Best Ways to Cope with the Coronavirus
Self-care is more than getting three meals a day and some exercise when your schedule allows. It is a priority that encompasses every decision you make.
Everything from your habits to your motivation must have a self-care focus if you want to make positive changes in your life. When your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being gets fed daily, you’ll have more resiliency when coping with all of the ongoing COVID-19 challenges.
Here are some of the best ways to nourish yourself so that you can face each day with confidence.
1. Take a deep breath.
If you can take a few moments out of your day to do some deep breathing, you can experience immediate stress and anxiety reductions.
You’ll also notice your muscles start to relax as you take the time to slow and consciously deepen each breath.
One of the best ways to work on this technique is called the 4-7-8 method. It asks you to follow a specific breathing pattern to help your mind and body benefit from this technique.
Start by taking a deep breath quickly while counting to four.
Once your lungs feel like they cannot hold any more air, hold your breath until you reach the count of seven.
Slowly expel the air from your lungs, counting to eight while doing it.
You’ll notice that a sharp intake is often necessary to fill your lungs. It might also feel uncomfortable to hold your breath until the count of seven. If you need to make some adjustments before you can perform the 4-7-8 methodology, that’s okay!
Several additional deep breathing exercises are also available to try if you don’t feel like this option is helping.
2. Create time in your schedule for silence.
There’s a lot of background noise happening in today’s world that causes stress. You can’t get through a news report without hearing about how many people have caught COVID-19 or have died because of the coronavirus. This constant barrage of bad news can wear you down emotionally and spiritually.
It helps to create a time where you can exist in silence. Try to disconnect from everything, including your phone. When you can be alone with your thoughts for 10-20 minutes, it’ll be easier to understand what you need.
3. Make some time for exercise each day outside of the home.
Although leaving your home might feel scary because of what is happening with COVID-19, it is essential to get outside. Even if you only take a short walk around your neighborhood with your mask on, the change of scenery can switch your mindset.
When you stay in the same spot for a long time, it feels like you’re getting left behind by the rest of the world. If you can start moving by staying positively present in each moment, it’ll help your physical health while offering a fresh perspective to consider.
4. Stay connected to your friends through other methods.
Social isolation is worse than loneliness. When you want to connect with others, and the world tells you it is impossible, your mental health can start degrading. Although online connections aren’t the same as getting a hug from your best friend, it’s still a critical way to be with your network.
You have several options available to you with this option.
Apps like Zoom can let you talk to your entire network simultaneously so that you can see everyone.
Online gaming platforms, including Xbox and PlayStation, let you play games together while having a conversation over your headset.
Phone calls, texts, FaceTime, Messenger, and more communication tools can let you see and talk with the people you love.
5. MaxOptimize the time you spend with your family.
Since we cannot see everyone we love, it is crucial to maintain social connections where you can physically be with others. Although you should never put yourself into a dangerous situation, the family you trust can be a lifeline for your overall health.
It helps to plan activities you can do together to be social. If you play board games, try curbside pickup at a new restaurant, or spend time talking about the day, it’ll feel like you’ve got a small slice of regular available.
6. Be patient with yourself and others.
With some people facing isolation for 9+ months because of COVID-19, several lifestyle changes have likely happened. You may have adapted to a new routine that feels healthy only to hear that it is time to go back to work or re-enter society.
The same grief you experienced when the coronavirus took your previous lifestyle away can occur when you must return to it.
You might even experience co-workers, friends, or random strangers who balk at your appearance because they’re afraid of catching COVID-19 from you.
If you make a conscious choice to be patient with yourself and others, it’ll be much easier to adapt to changing realities. It helps to be slow to anger and quick to forgive to maintain your emotional health.
7. Talk with someone you trust.
When you talk about your COVID-19 concerns, your mind has ways to cope with the emotions and anxiety that comes from your circumstances. Even if someone listens to you, it can feel therapeutic to let someone know what is happening in your life.
You might discover that the people you love are feeling the same way you are when dealing with the coronavirus!
If you need to get something off of your chest when no one is around to talk, a journal provides an excellent coping resource. It’s much easier for your mind to wrap itself around the challenges you face each day when it can turn thoughts into words.
When you can understand what happens and prepare for it, the circumstances you encounter won’t be as stressful.
8. Try to maintain your regular sleep schedule.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, COVID-19’s turmoil will seem more lavish and more devastating when encountering it during the day. Most people need between 7-9 hours of rest nightly, and children can sometimes require up to 11 hours.
When you’re getting less than six hours of rest each night, your body doesn’t have enough time to reboot. That’s when sugar and caffeine cravings can be intense, and you might experience irritability and anger more frequently.
If you can get into a healthy bedtime routine, you’ll have a powerful weapon to use in your fight against the coronavirus.
- Try to give yourself at least 60 minutes to transition from your daily routine into the one that leads to bedtime.
- If you can, shut down all of the electronics that might distract you at home. This step includes your phone, computer, and television.
- Use the time to do something relaxing, such as reading a book. You might consider taking a cool shower to lower your body temperature as a signal that it is time for bed.
- It helps to sleep in a dark, chilly room to engage your body’s circadian rhythm.
- Unless you must have devices available for your work or family, keep all electronics out of the bedroom. It should be your one oasis from COVID-19, which means you’ll use it for sleeping and intimate moments only.
Do you wake up frequently, toss and turn a lot, or have issues with insomnia? Those symptoms can be due to medical problems like obstructive sleep apnea. You might want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss what treatment options could be available.
Please Seek Immediate Help If You Experience a Crisis
You are not in this fight alone! Even when you feel isolated, please know that you have an entire community of people who want to help.
If you experience increased stress or overwhelming fear and anxiety, you can always call 911 or your local emergency services hotline.
You can also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1 (800) 985-5990.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have several additional resources for you to access when it feels like life starts spiraling out of control.
Everyone reacts to stress differently. Instead of comparing your circumstances to what you see others doing, try to think about how today can be a little better than yesterday. Is there a way you could make more improvements for tomorrow?
Each step forward is another way you’re taking care of yourself. When you have that foundation strong, you can begin helping others through this challenging time with COVID-19.