During these frightening times, it’s not uncommon for coronavirus paranoia to get the best of us. With most of the world staying indoors in order to practice social distancing, many are now working from home while homeschooling their own children and keeping up with the daily chores around the house. It can all be overwhelming and has the potential to take a toll on your mental health (if you let it!).
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Dr. Matt Grzesiak, a psychologist and the creator of the Mixed Mental Arts model, shared some insight with ESSENCE on ways to keep up your psychological hygiene.
Here are five simple ways to reduce stress and anxiety as coronavirus panic continues.
Exercise (Even When You Don’t Feel Like It)
With gyms and fitness centers closing at rapid speed, it might feel tempting to put your physical well-being on the back burner. But it’s actually important to stay active now more than ever. Studies show that physical activity improves not only physical health but also life satisfaction, cognitive functioning and psychological well-being. Follow one of the many free workouts available on YouTube, or download one of these apps to get a workout in 20 minutes or less.
Choose To Eat Well
Eating a balanced diet heavy on leafy greens, good carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats can do wonders for your physical and emotional health during this universally stressful time. This would also be a great time to add immune-boosting supplements to your diet. “For so many reasons, good nutrition is important to our overall health and we are learning more and more,” says Grzesiak. “Sugar affects your mood and may even be contributing to depression and anxiety.”
Don’t Skimp On Your Beauty Rest
Getting a minimum of eight hours of restful sleep is critical to staying healthy and high-functioning. “Unhealthy sleep patterns may increase the risk of mental illness and lead to problems with emotional regulation, memory and immune functioning,” says Grzesiak.
Stay Mindful And Grounded
While practicing social distancing, take at least ten minutes for yourself each day to be alone, meditate and be in the moment. It will help you keep a clear head. “It is more important than ever to stay in the present moment,” says Grzesiak, “with intention and without judgment.”
Though traveling and group gatherings are currently not recommended at this time, take advantage of FaceTime and Skype as a means to check in with your loved ones. “Social support is important in times of stress, adversity and trauma,” says Grzesiak.