In this time of quarantine and self-isolation, it is essential to maintain your mental health. By taking time out of your day to focus on yourself, you can improve your emotional and mental state. The CDC has taken a new slogan to heart as COVID-19 sweeps the world. The CDC recommends that you Be Kind to Your Mind.

Focusing on your mental health will allow you to feel better emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically. One out of five people in the United States deals with a mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health describes mental illness as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. In the United States, over 46.6 million adults have a mental health disorder, and women are more likely to experience this than men.

What should I do?

Whether or not you have a mental disorder, taking care of your mental health is something you should do regularly. It will take time, and perhaps a bit of reflection to find out what works and does not work for you. But once you find a way, it can significantly help you destress and anxious, which play a part in mental strain.

During the quarantine, life may get confusing as our regular routines become abnormal, and it is easy to start becoming stir crazy and sit in our thoughts. The CDC gave everyone five simple steps to follow to help be kind to your mind, and we are going to go through each one and give helpful ideas, so you do not have to stress out, even more, trying to calm yourself down.

How can I maintain mental health during Covid-19

The CDC recommends five steps to be kind to your mind. They focus on points that everyone should try to do during the COVID-19 quarantine. We will go through each step and suggest some ways to achieve each point.

Step 1 – Breathe

Being in a spiral of panic can be terrifying. There are many things that you may be thinking about at once, and it can be overwhelming. Find something that can distract you for a second and pause on everything. Find some time where you can breathe and figure out how you feel. Conduct emotional check-ins to see how you are doing can help you figure out if you are overly angry or extremely sad. Try to gauge how you are feeling, and if anything is outside the normal range, monitor it to make sure everything is okay.

Step 2 – Step Away from the News for a Minute

It may not be easy nowadays, but stop looking at COVID-19 news. Stop looking at what is happening on the news and social media and try to find a way to distract yourself. If possible, have a technology-free day and find an indoor activity that allows you to destress. This could be something like reading or painting or maybe even learning a new hobby. Try to stay away from anything that will flash out COVID-19 news continuously. Take a break from looking at the press for small periods, so you do not get inundated with COVID-19 information.

Step 3 – Sleeping and Exercising

While people stay at home, it becomes harder to keep a more dedicated schedule for eating, sleeping, and being active. Staying at home 24/7 allows people to sleep in and relax and that it is okay, but keeping some structure to your routine. Sleep at your usual times and maintain a schedule that you can follow, and try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day. It can be tempting to stay up later if you don’t have as many early morning meetings, but your mental health needs you to get plenty of sleep.

On that same train of thought, try to get exercise in some shape or form. This means you can go out for walks with a mask or get an exercise machine like a bike or treadmill. If these options do not work for you, there are also work out videos that you can find on youtube like dance fitness and yoga. Try some physical activity, especially if you are used to a sedentary lifestyle.

Step 4 – Stay Connected

It may seem harder to hang out with friends as the COVID-19 quarantine is still in place. Physically you may not be able to if people are high risk and not accepting visitors. However, with phone calls, video chats, and text messaging available, it is easier now more than ever to get in contact with your friends and family members.

Feeling isolated or alone may be a familiar feeling. The best way to curtail this will be to reach out to people. If you are used to going over and visiting your parents once a week, try video chatting with them once a week. People even have video conference parties and meals together by video talking while eating to simulate a group meal. Find your preferred way of communication and reach out to people and stay connected.

Step 5 – It’s okay to Ask for Help.

If you have tried steps 1-4, but you still feel overwhelmed, that is okay. Reaching out for help is completely acceptable if you have a therapist already try to get into contact with them, or research to see who is available. In 2017, among the 11.2 million adults with SMI, 7.5 million (66.7%) received mental health treatment in the past year.

It is essential to take care of yourself mentally, and for some people, this can lead to destructive tendencies. If you notice that you or someone you know is starting to abuse drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness, reach out to a substance abuse center.

In New Jersey, Pinelands Medical Center of Medford offers both on-site and off-site patient treatments for substance abuse. They have doctors and professionals on hand to help you deal with any situation you are experiencing. They can help you overcome addiction caused by a mental disorder and help you learn from it. Be kind to your mind, and never be afraid to get help if you need it.