Three Ways to Take Care of Your Emotional Health During the Pandemic
The pandemic has been hard on all of us. Even though there are signs of hope ahead, many people are still experiencing stress, anxiety and loneliness.
If you’re out of work, your children aren’t in school or you’re worried about someone you love getting sick, you may feel overwhelmed sometimes. If you have struggled with depression, anxiety or substance use issues in the past, you may find that the pandemic has made things harder.
It’s never been more important to take care of your mental health—for your own sake and for the people you love. Here are three simple, important ways to do it.
1. Take time to take care of yourself
We all have busy lives. Taking a break from work or family to take care of your mental health may seem selfish—or simply impossible. But even just a minute or two each day can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious. Try one of these:
- Get outside. Fresh air, light and a change of scene can make a world of difference. Take a ten-minute walk or just stand in the sunshine and take some deep breaths.
- Meditate for a minute. Meditating doesn’t take any special skills. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breath for a few minutes. Notice the sound and the feel of the air in and out of your nose. If your mind wanders, gently guide it back to your breath. That’s all there is to it!
- Say thank you. Many people find it helps their mood to write down something they’re grateful for every day. It can be something as important as your children or spouse or as ordinary as your morning coffee.
2. Use your health and wellness benefits
You’ve probably heard people joke about gaining the “COVID 19.” It’s human nature to turn to not-so-healthy food to cope with difficult feelings and situations. With our daily routines disrupted and gyms closed, many of us are less active, too. But healthy foods and regular exercise are essential to your emotional health.
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3. Get professional help if you need it
If your feelings of anxiety or sadness are so strong that they’re making everyday life difficult, it may help to talk to a behavioral health professional. There’s no shame in getting help. A counselor or therapist can talk with you about how you’re feeling, give you strategies to help you cope and connect you with other resources.
Your plan covers outpatient counseling, and inpatient mental health and substance use disorder services. Visit our provider search tool to see a list of in-network providers in your area. Most providers are offering online visits, so you don’t even have to leave the privacy of your home.
For more resources, including what to do if you or someone you love is in crisis, visit the Massachusetts site of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
It’s been a challenging year, with lots of ups and downs. At Tufts Health Plan, we’re here for you, ready to support your emotional wellbeing however we can.