The schools aren’t fully opening.
Parents are working from home. Kids are being homeschooled. The store shelves are almost empty.
Children have to socially distance at parks and playgrounds. Social gatherings are limited. People are wearing masks, social distancing, and making no contact or only small talk with each other in public.
This is how many people begin to spiral into anxiety and depression.
The unknown…how much longer?
The fear, the anxiety, the loneliness.
Here are some quick daily tips to stay emotionally healthy and prevent you from spiraling into anxiety and depression:
1. Get outside! Your body is craving vitamin D and sunshine. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the sounds of nature. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Go for a jog. Do anything to get your body moving. When you exercise, you are releasing the “feel good” chemical serotonin in your brain. When serotonin rises, you will feel happier, calmer, sleep better, and eat better.
2. If you have a pet, spend some extra time with him/her. Studies show that pets help to make you feel better. Petting your pet or playing with him/her will make you feel better.
3. Drink water. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to feeling lethargic.
4. Eat healthy. Proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables sustain your energy levels. If you eat unhealthily you will most likely not feel well. Consider taking supplements, especially vitamins B, C, D and Zinc (check with your doctor first).
5. Get out of bed! Take a shower every day, get dressed, and make your bed. Statistics show that this adds motivation to your day. It also helps to stay on a routine.
6. Have contact with other people through FaceTime, phone calls, or video conferences. Check in to see how friends and family are doing. Have conversations with them. Check in with others who live alone. We are social beings, and not being able to have contact with others right now can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and depression.
7. Stimulate your brain! Watch funny movies, TV shows, or videos. Laughter reduces stress and increases the endorphins in your brain to make you feel better. Stimulate your brain with puzzles like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or word searches.
8. Practice gratitude and mindfulness. List at least three things you are grateful for every day, and do a mindfulness exercise. “See, touch, hear, smell” is a good one. Consciously focus on five things each that you can see, touch, and hear, and one that you can smell.
9. Breathe deeply. Deep breathing reduces anxiety in the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body down. Slow down your breaths and shift from short shallow chest breaths to deep diaphragm breathing. Focus on the breaths.
Try box breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold the out breath for a count of four. Another common breathing exercises is to inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of eight.