The “Emotional Rollercoaster of Coronavirus” has impacted literally everyone, whether they have ever experienced mental health issues or not. Some days, I feel at peace with the pandemic, our “new normal,” and quarantine life. Other days, I put my head into a pillow and pray for it all to end.
I know I’m not alone. My friends and I keep checking in on each other with…”Which part of the roller coaster are you on today?”
That’s why I’ve put this guide together as advice on how you can manage your mental health during Covid 19.
- Try Therapy
I am a firm believer that therapy is beneficial for everyone, regardless of whether or not you are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe mental health issues. You always have room for self-exploration, growth, and healing, so if you haven’t already, trying out a therapy session or a couple of sessions in the context of the pandemic can be truly life-changing.
I’ve been going to therapy for about 2 years now, and at first, when I sat on the plush couch across from the therapist, I felt ashamed to be there. But two years later, I can say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve also tried couples counseling, and it’s been really beautiful for my marriage.
2. Form a “Quarantine Pod”
While some have opted to return back to their normal social life, many still choose to either stay quarantined or limit contact with who they see. If the pandemic wears on for another year or two, since there is currently no end in sight, then it can become extremely bleak and disheartening to be in complete social isolation.
That is why I believe creating “pods” of a few people you choose to see is healthy. If they are quarantined as well, it is extremely comforting, or everyone can get routinely checked from time to time to make sure they’re not infected. Similarly, you can choose to create a pod of people who are open to backyard hangouts where everyone wears masks and sits at 6 feet apart. If that’s still uncomfortable, you can use Zoom to hangout.
Whatever your preference with how intensely you are quarantining, maintaining a social life is critical to sanity.
3. Get a Pet
I adopted a Giant Flemish Rabbit at the start of the pandemic, and he brought me so much joy over the last few months. Unfortunately, he passed away due to what was most likely a genetic defect, but I still think a) many animals could use a loving home during these times and b) caring for an animal is emotionally up-lifting.
4. Start a Passion Project
You know that “thing you always wanted to do but couldn’t because you never had time…?
Well, now you have time, so let the excuses fall to the wayside. It’s time to commit to that project you’ve always wanted to do, whether it is a form of art, a sport, a side hustle, or hobby. It’s also a great time to learn something new. The progress and growth that you experience can make the “new normal of 2020” almost feel worth it.
For me, TikTok became my passion project. I began creating micro-stories on TikTok about my family, and in less than 6 months, I grew to over 100,000 followers. Along with that milestone, I published a children’s book.
5. Go on a Road Trip
While flying can still feel extremely risky, road trips are a safer way to travel. You can go camping and pitch a tent to play it safe. We’ve been camping all over Texas since COVID 19 started, but we also have been renting AirBnBs. We’ve been opting for smaller rentals that are easier to disinfect. We also always make sure to pack our own bedding.
Having these smaller trips to look forward to has honestly kept me sane. This summer, we’ve visited San Antonio, Austin, Wimberely, Port Aransas, and Gulf Shores. You can follow our travel adventures on Instagram.
6. Read Self Help Books
One of the best things I ever did in my life was to start to read more nonfiction, especially self help books. Download Kindle, so you can carry a virtual library in your pocket. If you don’t like to read, download Audible and listen on the go. You can even 2x or 3x the speed, so you can get through books quickly. If you’re not into any of the above, then download GetAbstract. It does require a paid subscription, but you can read through book summaries where the most important points are all listed out in a bite-sized manner. It’s so quick and easy to consume.
7. Start Meditating
I used to think meditation was only for monks. Of course I’d heard of the benefits, but it sounded like a waste of time. I was extremely wrong. I began with guided meditations for a couple minutes a day. You can YouTube “Guided Meditations.” My personal favorite channel to follow is Michael Sealey on YouTube. His mixture of guided meditation and self hypnosis is truly life changing.
Now, I use a device called Muse to help me practice my meditation. It uses the sound of rain to let me know when my mind is clear versus when my thoughts are all over the place. It’s a truly phenomenal device, and I recommend it for those that are just beginning with their meditation practice.
Of course, a more seasoned meditator won’t need anything more than a comfortable place to sit.
8. Setup a Home Gym
I’ve always hated driving to the gym. The time it takes to get ready, drive, get checked in, and begin working out always led me to be inconsistent with working out. I setup a home gym RIGHT before the pandemic hit, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2020.
I purchased something called the Mirror, which is a gorgeous, nearly-invisible home gym setup, where I can cast all types of workout classes, including cardio, dance, yoga, pilates, and more. It even includes meditation classes!
It does require a few pieces of physical equipment, such as weights, jump ropes, resistance bands, and more. I’ve put together a list to make it easier for you to get the essentials.
9. Try Essential Oils
I may be a bit of an oil-diffusing addict. It helps my mood, makes me feel healthier, and improves the scent of my home. I also love introducing my baby girl to the various scents. If you’ve never tried essential oils, it’s worth trying it at least once.
My go-to scents are lavender, orange, and lemongrass. Here’s the diffuser I use, and here’s the variety pack of oils that I have been using for about a year now (and I still have a LOT left).
10. Create a “COVID 19” Journal
If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I post one thing a day that makes me happy. It has become an online journal for me to catalog all the good things that happen to me and has helped me re-wire my brain for positivity. If you don’t want a journal that’s “public,” simply keep a private journal, album, blog, etc. where you can make a list of the things that you’re grateful for everyday.
It seems simple, but I was experiencing severe postpartum depression when I began this practice. I can now say with confidence that I have never been happier.
What else would you add to this list?