What you can do for your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak

Animated image of a persons head with two thought bubbles coming off that say "stay virtually connected to others" and "take advantage of telemental health services"

At the end of the day, all of our lives and mental health have been disrupted in one way or another due to the current global health crisis.

The most common conditions our youth face today are related to mental health, like anxiety, ADHD, depression, and more. We hope you consider some of the following suggestions to help maintain your own wellbeing.

#1: Stay connected to others, whether that be your mentor, close friends, or family members. Just because you physically cannot be near the people you love, it doesn’t mean you need to emotionally distance yourself as well. An alternative term going around the internet is “physical distancing,” which supports the fact that just because we are unable to physically be around each other, it doesn’t mean we have to remain entirely disconnected. Read more about physical distancing and the World Health Organization’s support of this term.

Some examples may include using FaceTime or other video chat platforms, texting, emailing, etc. Checking in regularly with friends to see how they’re doing can make a world of difference.

#2: If you have access to telemental health services, use them. Managing the anxiety and lifestyle adaptations during a time like this can be very overwhelming, especially for those at a higher risk. Telemental health service guidelines, rules, and regulations have been loosened in efforts to adapt to the current crisis. If you haven’t already, ask your therapist or insurance provider if they’re offering these services.

You can read more about how telemental health services have expanded in response to the COVID-19 outbreak on the Psychiatric Times website.

#3: Create a routine for yourself. It’s important for anyone’s mental health to have some kind of routine in their everyday lives. During this uncertain time of physically distancing yourself from the rest of the world, although you may find it difficult to stick with a routine, it may be beneficial to your mental health. 

Your routine could consist of going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday, taking a walk in the morning, eating lunch at the same time each afternoon, reading before bed, doing an at home workout, calling a friend, completing school work, and more.

Whatever routine you decide to create for yourself is ultimately up to you and your needs.

Read more about the importance of a morning routine and the effect it has to brighten or hinder your day on the National Alliance for Mental Illness’ blog. 

#4: Practice self-care. Self-care can take many, many forms. Ask yourself, what brings me peace during difficult times? 

We asked our staff what they’ve been doing to keep busy and practice self care. We hope by sharing our favorite ways to care for ourselves, that it could encourage you to try something new.

“Trying to get outside everyday for a walk. It’s great to get some exercise and take in some nature.” -Joanna

“I’ve been learning how to cook!” -Becca

“I have been improving my green thumb!” -Emma

“Yoga, singing, playing guitar, writing  & composing songs, listening to music, cooking, taking walks, star gazing, growing veggies” -Deep

“I have been going for walks, teaching my daughter how to bake, and playing online Words with Friends with family and friends I can’t physically be with right now,”  –Genelle

“Yoga, baking, and Animal Crossing!” -Steve

“Singing, playing guitar, and cooking new foods!” –Mehdi

“Running, video chats, and crock pot cooking!” -Kristin

“Trying new recipes, picking up my instruments I haven’t played in years, listening to music, meditating, and exercising” -Nicole

“I enjoy working out, video games (Animal Crossing and Final Fantasy), and baking as my self-care isolation plan!” -Jordan

“I try to start my mornings with some breathwork and meditation, then throughout the day and night I’ll try to do some gardening, yoga or exercise, dancing, painting, reading, and writing.” -Neda

“I started doing Tai chi for 20-30 minutes every morning! Very good meditative exercise which also gets the blood flowing. And 250 push ups every day.” -Darryl

Take care of yourself, and reach out in times of need. A few mental health related resources can be found below. 

Suicide prevention hotline

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health resources for maintaining emotional health during COVID-19