As we do our best to follow all of the CDC, OSHA and other guidelines to keep ourselves and others physically healthy, let’s not forget the importance of our mental health as well. During these challenging and stressful times, particularly for those of us and our families who are sheltered at home, please take a look at the following mental health wellness tips courtesy of Eileen Feliciano, a doctoral level psychologist in NYS with a Psy.D. in the specialties of School and Clinical Psychology.
Stick to a routine.
Go to sleep and wake up at a reasonable time, write a schedule that is varied and includes time for work as well as self-care.
Dress for the social life you want, not the social life you have.
Get showered and dressed in comfortable clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth. It is amazing how our dress can impact our mood.
Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes.
If you are concerned with contact, try first thing in the morning, or later in the evening, and try less travelled streets and avenues. If you are high risk or living with those who are high risk, open the windows and blast the fan.
Find some time to move each day, again daily for at least thirty minutes.
If you do not feel comfortable going outside, there are many YouTube videos that offer free movement classes, and if all else fails, turn on the music and have a dance party!
Reach out to others, you guessed it, at least once daily for thirty minutes.
Try to do FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, texting—connect with other people to seek and provide support. Do not forget to do this for your children as well. Set up virtual playdates with friends daily via FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Kids, Zoom, etc.—your kids miss their friends, too!
Stay hydrated and eat well.
This one may seem obvious but stress and eating often do not mix well, and we find ourselves over-indulging, forgetting to eat, and avoiding food. Drink plenty of water, eat some good and nutritious foods, and challenge yourself to learn how to cook something new!
Spend extra time playing with children.
Children will rarely communicate how they are feeling, but will often make a bid for attention and communication through play. Do not be surprised to see therapeutic themes of illness, doctor visits, and isolation play through. Understand that play is cathartic and helpful for children—it is how they process their world and problem solve, and there is a lot they are seeing and experiencing in the now.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and a wide berth.
A lot of cooped up time can bring out the worst in everyone. Each person will have moments when they will not be at their best. It is important to move with grace through blowups, to not show up to every argument you are invited to, and to not hold grudges and continue disagreements. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through this.