The COVID-19 pandemic is dragging on, now entering its sixth month, and sometimes, it seems as if there is no end in sight. This is having a strain on all of our mental health, as rates of depression, anxiety, and drug use are all increasing.
The good news—such as it is—is that there are indeed better ways to manage our mental health during this incredibly difficult time.
Under the best of circumstances, medical professionals advise you to get outside into nature. Going outside is associated with positive mental health outcomes, and that’s why many mental health professionals recommend going outside whenever possible.
There is an added benefit of going outside: It can help remove the feelings of isolation that have become such commonplace during this pandemic. Being outdoors can help connect us with nature and remind us that, despite the pandemic, other people still exist in this world. Being around people – from a safe, social distance – can be a huge positive to our mental health.
Again, even during regular times, physical activity is a benefit to our mental health. This advice becomes even more important during COVID when we have lost a great deal of physical activity that we usually get by working.
As such, it is vitally important that you get some sort of physical activity, even during this pandemic. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty weights of a Peloton class, but physical activity can release anti-stress hormones and make you feel better about your current situation. Even better: Combine getting into nature with exercise and go outside for a long walk or run.
Of course, you should always check with a medical professional before starting any exercise program.
Volunteering has more benefits than you may realize, as volunteering for a worthy cause not only benefits the cause itself, but the volunteer. Studies show that volunteering can reduce anxiety, improve mental health, and help to attack the feelings of social isolation that have become all too common during this time period. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can check with local government officials or preferred non-profits and see what sort of help they need. This will almost certainly have a real benefit on you and your mental health.