The coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought on some very new and unique challenges. We are navigating unchartered waters with this virus, making it important to find new ways to work and interact while also taking care of our mental health and well-being.
Many are teleworking full-time for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family. Our daily living routines are disrupted causing added anxiety, stress and strain—physically, mentally, and financially. It is completely natural for this disruption and uncertainty to lead to anxiety and stress.
Now more than ever, we all must take care of our mental health and well-being. We may experience increased feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, impatience, irritability or frustration. We may feel uncertainty about the future or worry about isolation amidst rapidly changing schedules and social plans. While feeling worried is normal and expected, there are many ways that we can take care of our mental health and well-being.
- Keep a regular schedule: Create and maintain a routine and schedule. Set up a designated space for you and each family member to work and learn. Don’t forget to include periodic breaks for recharging in your schedule.
- Stay connected: Stay connected with family, friends, and support systems using technology like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and other video-based options. Talk about your fears and concerns with people you trust. Chances are they are feeling the same way.
- Keep your immune system strong: Make a commitment to staying strong by:
- Washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds (about two rounds of the “Happy Birthday” song)
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating well and staying hydrated
- Taking vitamins
- Prioritize personal hygiene and limit contact with others: This is imperative to avoid spreading the virus. Here’s what should be done:
- Again, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Use a tissue to cover your sneeze or cough, or when unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Disinfect with anti-bacterial wipes areas and objects that are heavily trafficked or are touched regularly where you live and work.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick and avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Exercise and stay active: This is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health. Periodically, get up and move around your home. Walking, stretching, planks or jumping jacks—whatever works best for you to reduce or alleviate stress and increase endorphins. While our favorite gyms and fitness centers are closed during this time, many are offering free livestreams or app-based workouts for members and the general public, so check online to see what’s available.
- Get fresh air: If circumstances allow, go outside for a brisk walk and fresh air, but avoid crowds and try to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance with others.
- Stay informed: Knowledge is power, and it’s good to stay updated on progress being made in combatting the virus. Stay informed on the latest updates from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Limit media consumption: Avoid continuous exposure to news, media, and social media that may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic. Stay informed by following few, authoritative resources.
- Make time to unwind: Engage in activities that benefit your well-being, bring you joy and distract you from existing challenges. This might include meditation and yoga, often offered free online. You may also enjoy journaling, reading, art projects, cooking with new recipes, breathing exercises, or listening to a calming podcast or music.
- Get creative to stay connected: Share tips with co-workers and friends on what’s working well for you and encourage them to do the same. Come up with new ideas like planning a Google Hangout to exercise together – try one-minute planks, 10 jumping jacks, or whatever you decide, just keep it simple. Share photos of pets enjoying the new routine. Watch movies at the same time on Zoom or on Skype. The sky’s the limit on creative ways to stay connected.
While taking care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially important, AFC Urgent Care is here for your medical needs. We realize that some patients may be uncomfortable or unable to leave their homes during this time due to compromised immune systems or underlying health issues. Other patients may have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. For patient and staff safety, and peace of mind, AFC is now accepting patients for Telemedicine services. Telemedicine allows patients to consult with a physician about a number of medical issues via video call from the comfort of your own home. For questions, please call 203-845-9100.