How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Covid 19 Pandemic

The COVID 19 pandemic has likely brought about many changes in your life. Some of you started working from home. Some of you use Amazon and Instacart more than ever. Kids activities and classes now have a “hybrid” virtual approach. A new “germaphobe” culture has been created. Social media has blown up.   

I repeatedly see patients with new onset anxiety and depression. Obesity is on the rise. On average, most of my patients have gained about 10-20 pounds. My diabetics are not eating healthy and exercising. My congestive heart failure patients have become non compliant. Insomnia is increasing.  

The sedentary lifestyle is more common now. Neck pain and headaches are common because of endless computer and phone activity. The “virtual culture” we have created has been damaging to overall health.  

Many patients are smoking and drinking more. My pediatric patients have become OCD and anxious. I am sad and hurt to see the lack of self care. In fact, the COVID 19 pandemic has worsened and created many disease processes.  

So, how do we cope? This pandemic has been rather stressful and has affected many components of our life.  Here are some quick easy tips:

  1. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY! Your physical health is of utmost importance. A healthy diet, exercise, and good sleep is crucial! In fact, many disease processes can be prevented if Americans just followed diet and exercise
  2. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Smokers are at high risk of getting more sick with COVID. Using alcohol will make you gain weight. Drinking should be minimized. Also, any type of drugs should not be used
  3. LIMIT SCREEN TIME! Please stay off the internet! In fact, the internet can be quite detrimental to mental health.  Limit for one hour per day, at the most two. The more you limit exposure to news media, the happier you will be. Trust me on this one.  
  4. Relax and recharge. You need to set aside time for complete silence. This means no phone, no kids, no work, nothing. Just deep breathing for about five minutes per day will help. A regular practice of yoga or meditation is the best.  
  5. Focus on deepening your relationships with your loved ones. A social support system is more important than ever right now. As a community we need each other to get through these difficult times. Make sure you connect regularly with your close friends and family.  
  6. Get help when you need it. If you feel like you need help, get it! There are many good therapists in the community.  If you need some names of good therapists, let me know and I will refer you.
  7. And please please please keep up with your wellness exams and preventive screening!