With all of the focus on physical health during the Coronavirus Pandemic, it's easy to forget about our mental health. Because we're spending a lot of time at home, not seeing friends or family regularly, or engaging in our usual activities, our mental health may suffer. Here are 5 things you and your family can do to keep mentally healthy during this uncertain time.
- Exercise regularly -- Whether it's a YouTube exercise video or a walk around the neighborhood, physical activity does wonders for your mental health. It releases endorphins that help your mood improve.
- Practice mindfulness - There are many great apps and YouTube videos that have mindfulness practices available for free. Encourage your family to take time daily to be still and pay attention to what is going on in their mind and body.
- Feel and label emotions -- Just the act of labeling emotions helps decrease their intensity. Allow yourself to have the full range of emotions -- happy, mad, sad, scared, surprise, disgust. Ask your children where they feel their emotions in their bodies.
- Stay social -- Use technology to maximize social interaction during this time of isolation. Use FaceTime or Skype so you see the other person's expressions and you can bridge the distance better than just texting or messaging on social media.
- Get professional help -- If or your family members are having difficulty sleeping, eating, changes in mood, changes in behavior, or anything that's impacting daily functioning, call and get professional help. Most therapists are offering virtual therapy through HIPAA compliant video conferencing platforms.
More about Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, LCSW: She is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist with over 25 years experience specializing in women’s emotional health and relationships, and is an assistant professor of social work at Utah Valley University. Dr. Hanks is the founder and director of Wasatch Family Therapy, an outpatient therapy clinic in Cottonwood Heights and Bountiful, UT. She is also the author of The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women, a blogger, a local and national media contributor, an online influencer, a private practice consultant, and an award-winning performing songwriter. A native Californian, Hanks currently lives with her family in Sandy, UT. For additional resources visit DrJulieHanks.com or connect with @drjuliehanks on social media.