Taking care of your mental health is always a necessity, and even more so during a pandemic. Stress and anxiety have increased since COVID-19 altered our daily lives, so please know you are not alone if you’re feeling restless, nervous or dealing with conflicting emotions.
Thanks to my partnership with Baptist Health South Florida, I want to share with you tips from mental health experts to help you navigate what you might be dealing with. If left untreated, anxiety and depression can worsen and have long-term effects on your health, which is why it is so important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and make the time for self-care. The good news is that mental health counseling is more accessible, convenient and affordable than ever before, thanks to telemedicine.
Expert tips to help improve mental health
Dr. Rachel Rohaidy, M.D., a psychiatrist with Baptist Health South Florida, offers the following strategies to help you during these uncertain times:
- Maintain a regular routine to help you feel more in control.
- Create a work-life balance by setting limits on your time to work.
- Establish priorities. Too many commitments can be overwhelming, so only commit to those that bring you happiness.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid emotional eating, which can lead to unhealthy emotions and negative feelings.
- Nourish your soul by doing relaxing activities, like walking, meditating or reading a book.
- Limit your media exposure to avoid an overload of negative news stories.
- Nurture your spiritual life.
- Reframe your thinking about social distancing from negative to positive. Realizing that your actions are keeping you, your family and your community stay healthy can be very empowering.
- Stay connected. Although you may be physically separated from family and friends, you can be emotionally connected through online methods.
Although following these tips can help many people manage mental health conditions, everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. If you would like to schedule a private visit with a licensed mental health specialist, download the free Baptist Health Care On Demand app. Use code WELLBEING to get $10 off your consultation, valid through December 31, 2020.
When should you seek professional help?
According to Dr. Rohaidy, pay attention to signs of mental distress, such as:
- fighting with loved ones
- bursts of anger
- crying spells
- feelings of panic
- excessive substance use.
In children and teens, parents should watch for:
- aggressive behavior
- difficulty concentrating
- complaints of aches and pain.
“If you or a loved one cannot function or formulate thoughts and plans to move forward, then it is time to reach out to a mental health specialist,” advises Dr. Rohaidy.
Remember, you are not alone, and even though it might seem complicated, getting the help you need is easier than you think. Also, check in on loved ones who might be feeling lonelier and more anxious than usual, so you can help them as well.
Special thanks to Baptist Health South Florida for sponsoring this post.