Mental health problems were common prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but they’re even more prevalent now that COVID has taken over.
According to the Healthline Mental Health Index, 45 percent of the U.S. population currently lies outside of the “normal” range on a common depression and anxiety survey known as the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4).
While this secondary epidemic may not be overcome until we find a cure for COVID, several measures can ease our anxiety during this difficult time, as highlighted below:
Make the Most of Digital Resources
Videoconferencing applications and other digital tools make even the strictest quarantines easier to bear. They may not replace in-person interaction, but any virtual conversation still beats isolation. If you’re uncomfortable with video chat, try an old-fashioned phone call instead.
If possible, plan regular videoconferences with friends and family members. Go beyond small talk to discuss how you really feel. Teletherapy and video-based church services may also help.
Take a Break From COVID News
It’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending COVID news cycle, but excessive exposure to negative reports will quickly have you feeling hopeless. That being said, it’s possible to remain informed without compromising your mental health. Set aside a few minutes every day to glance at the news — and then commit to setting it aside.
Find New Coping Mechanisms
Perhaps previous coping strategies are off the table for now due to quarantine. Acknowledge that these options are unavailable — and actively seek out replacements. This could be your opportunity to dive into a new book or take up a home-based hobby such as gardening. Experiment to determine which measures make it easier to deal with your currently elevated stress level.