Follow healthy daily routines as much as possible
Your daily habits and routines can help you feel more in control of your own well-being. Even simple
actions can make a difference:
Take care of yourself through exercise and movement
If you’re staying home, you may be less physically active than usual. It’s important to keep movement as part of your daily life, whether it’s exercise or light movement like stretching and making sure you’re not sitting down too long. Exercise is a great way to care for your body. It is a powerful way to improve both your physical and mental health. Research suggests that when we exercise, our brain releases chemicals that help us better manage stress and anxiety.
There are many different ways to exercise. Many of them are free, don’t require any equipment and can be done at home. Most people can find an exercise routine that fits their needs and abilities. If you don’t typically exercise or have health concerns, you may want to talk with your primary care provider before starting a new activity.
Some ideas of how to move more:
It’s common to feel stressed or anxious during this time. It may be especially hard for people who already manage feelings of anxiety or emotional distress. For example, for those of us with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), public health recommendations about contamination and hand washing may make it more difficult to manage our symptoms. Recognizing how you’re feeling can help you care for yourself, manage your stress and cope with difficult situations. Even when you don’t have full control of a situation, there are things you can do. Below we describe how to stay informed, take action, maintain healthy social connections.
Stay connected with others and maintain your social networks
Physical distancing (also called social distancing) can change how you usually interact with people you care about. Doing this is essential to lessening the impact of COVID-19.
There are many ways you can build a feeling of connection, even if you can’t see people in person or go places you usually would:
Manage how you consume information
Equip yourself with information from credible, reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). See below section for more links. Be selective about how you consume news. It’s generally a good idea to stay engaged and informed. Having some limits on your news consumption can help:
SAMHSA – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. https://www.samhsa.gov/HHS – The United States Department of Health and Human Services is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. federal government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. https://www.hhs.gov/
CDC – The Centers for Disease Control is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise. https://www.cdc.gov
Crisis Text Line – Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained https://www.crisistextline.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can speak with a trained Crisis Counselor. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
There are lots of online resources about mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises and more. Some organizations, including yoga studios, offer free classes online as well. Grounding exercises can help you notice the sights, sounds, smells and sensations around you rather than being absorbed in your thoughts.
There are many types of meditation, but in general, they involve finding a quiet, comfortable place where you can observe your thoughts and focus on your breath. Meditation can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.”
Breathing exercises can help calm your body and your mind. These exercises often involve controlling and slowing your breath. They may be especially helpful in managing feelings of anxiety and panic.
Do meaningful things with your free time
When you can, do things that you enjoy and that help you relax.