Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with your new normal these days? Are the cancelled events, long days at home, and the stress and panic of COVID-19 starting to weigh on your mind?
We realize that the current situation of our world is likely impacting your mental health. We asked Stepworks CEO and founder Dr. Tom Ingram to share why taking care of your body and your brain is so vital during a time like this.
“It is important to practice good self-care as this crisis continues. No, I am not talking about sanitizers and quarantines. Humans are naturally social beings. Too much alone time and too much isolation takes a toll on our mental health. For those battling loneliness and depression already, the next few weeks are likely to worsen the problem.”Tom Ingram, M.D.
We don’t want you to feel alone in the quest to protect your health and well-being. We asked Dr. Ingram to share 10 tips with us on how we can counteract isolation and strive to make a positive impact on our mental health during this stressful time.
1. Reach out to each other over the phone.
Not texting, Facebook, or email. Having a conversation with real live human beings can help you to feel connected to others in a way that messaging can’t.
2. Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Our bodies have wonderful “pick-me-up” chemicals called endorphins. Exercise has been proven to be an awesome tool in treating depression and anxiety.
3. Go outside.
Social distancing does not prohibit going outside. The advantage of being in Kentucky is that we have lots of wide open spaces. Now is the time to take advantage of that.
4. Go to the light!
It is important to expose yourself to as much light as possible. If it is sunny, go outside or sit in front of a window. Turn on all the lights in your house. Light is important in regulating our moods. Low sunlight is a cause of a type of depression (seasonal affective disorder).
5. Take long drives in the country.
Gas is cheap. Get out of the house and get a change of scenery.
6. Make use of Facebook’s built-in video conference capability or another similar technology.
“We used it to talk to our grandkids while we were at sea near New Zealand. Try it out with your friends and family,” said Dr. Ingram.
7. Turn off the TV and listen to music.
Get away from the news and constant stream of information. Choose music that uplifts you (bonus points if you move your body while you listen to the music).
8. Step away from your computer and do something active.
Many of you may be working from home during this time. Be sure to set timers for yourself so you remember to move throughout the day.
9. Stick to a routine.
Do not treat this time as a chance to slack off on your routines and normal structure. Do not sleep, eat, drink or nap too much. A routine helps with consistency and gives a sense of normalcy in chaotic times.
Last, but certainly not least,
10. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or lonely, do something about it.
Own it. Ask for help. Reach out. If you are in recovery, reach out to your sponsor, or connect with us on our Recovering(me) app. We are here to help you.
President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Happiness is a choice.” Now is the time to think positively. Research has shown that if you act happy your body will become happy. Practice smiling. Practice laughing. Practice being happy…And we want to help you do that.
For the next few weeks, Stepworks will be sharing Dr. Ingram’s tips and insights from our Stepworks therapy team on our social media platforms. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for reminders on how to maintain good mental health during this difficult time.