GREENVILLE — “All we can do right now is stay present, mindful of this moment,” said Dr. Laurie White with Family Health’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, who provided a few tips on how to stay mentally healthy while dealing with the multiple aspects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
To start, Dr. White emphasizes limiting exposure to COVID-19 information to only a few resources to keep up-to-date as opposed to constant stimuli from online to television that may create anxiety, worry, and a focus on worse case scenarios.
“Focus on what you can control,” explained Dr. White, which includes adhering to social distancing, staying at home to avoid crowds, as well as getting plenty of sleep and to eat properly.
Journaling or writing down a list of specific worries can also help, allowing a determination of solutions to feel proactive instead of reactive. For example, how is COVID-19 affecting my life right now, followed by a list of potential solutions that may help one feel better, to focus on positives as opposed to negatives and what can be problem-solved.
Another recommendation for those isolated at home is to create a calm environment that enhances relaxation and brings comfort.
If isolated at home, now is an excellent time to tackle projects or hobbies put aside during what had been a typical hectic lifestyle. This tip includes getting in touch via phone or online with family and friends you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Dr. White noted research shows that helping others can alleviate stress, so call neighbors, family, and friends, see if they need anything while still adhering to social distancing, of course.
“Do what you can and reach out if you need some help. There’s going to be hiccups in this process, and that’s OK. We are all in this together,” said Dr. White, “Anything that anyone can do, even momentarily, that brings them some comfort.”
“Don’t expect yourself to be perfect through it,” continued Dr. White. “The key is to stay in the moment, watch what you are saying to yourself, positive versus negative, taking care in mind, body, and spirit.”