Take Care of Yourself During These Difficult Times – A Checklist To Help You

COVID – 19 and Mental Health Checklist

____ Call or video chat with friends and/or family

____ ZOOM meal or meeting with friends and/or family

____ Speak with someone I haven’t spoken to in long time

____ Relaxation/Breathing exercises; meditation, yoga

____ Indoor physical exercise; workout; virtual workouts

____ Outdoor exercise – walk, hike, run, bicycle (wear mask, social distance)

____ Outdoor get together friends or family (backyard, large porch with proper distancing, masks)

____ Long Car Ride

____ Enjoyable and distracting activities:  ___Reading __ Listening to music ___ Dancing/Singing ___ Art/Painting ___Gardening/Planting ____Play instrument ____ Puzzles/Games ___ Other

____ Watch movies or shows I missed

____ New project (s)

____ Comic Relief i.e. watch funny show, YouTube or Netflix comedians, read joke book)

____ Take a nap, rest

____ Reminisce – watch family videos, look at albums

____ Clean the ______;   Organize the _______

____ Help someone; make a charitable contribution or gesture

____ Journal, establish a gratitude document

____ Eat healthy

____ Remind self of positive attributes

____ Treat partner, children, others with respect; let them know the things you appreciate about them

Add others as you see fit.

Limit: Watching or reading news; substance use; compulsive (comfort) eating; compulsive shopping

Try to do at least 3-5 of these depending on circumstances

Take Care of Yourself During These Difficult Times

COVID -19 has had a profound impact on all of us and the longer the pandemic continues the worse it feels.  We have never experienced anything like this in our lives. People are feeling very anxious and irritable due to the fears of contracting the disease, fears of losing loved ones, the loss of our routines, the restrictions in what we could do, and the uncertainties of the present and future.

Following are some suggestions to try to help you during these difficult times:

  1. Recognize that your anxiety, fears, and/or depression are absolutely understandable and you are definitely not alone. Accept these understandable emotional states as best as possible
  2. At the same time, try to practice relaxation exercises. There are many relaxation, meditation apps that could be downloaded on your phone for free. Find the one that suits you best and practice it a couple of times a day.
  3. Physically exercise in some way (s) if you are able. We are unable to attend gyms currently, but most gyms offer virtual classes for free. Also physical exercise, yoga, cardio videos could be found on YouTube. If you have equipment at home, please use it.
  4. You do not have to stay in your home all the time. Go for car rides, go out for walks, runs, or bicycle rides. Please be safe. Wear masks and practice social distancing.
  5. Social distancing prevents direct social involvement which is frustrating for many. However, you can speak to your friends and family regularly. Use video chat options. Reach out to friends that you have not spoken to in a long time. It is also possible to get together with family or friends by gathering outside i.e. in a backyard, while practicing appropriate social distancing.
  6. LIMIT watching or reading about news. People state that they want to be informed. You could be informed checking for a relatively short period of time a couple of times a day. Watching continuously raises anxiety, uncertainties, depression etc.
  7. Identify and participate in activities that you will enjoy and keep you distracted. This could include some of the suggestions above, watching TV shows documentaries that interest you, reading, listening to music, dancing, doing creative or artistic things, gardening.
  8. Use humor when possible and appropriate. Watch shows that make you laugh. YouTube or Netflix comedians that you like.
  9. Take the time to clean or organize areas that you haven’t been able to get to. When things feel out of control, cleaning and organizing provides some sense of control and accomplishment.
  10. Help others in need, If you can, make charitable contribution, support local restaurants,
  11. Avoid substance abuse, excessive comfort eating, and other negative compulsive behaviors.

The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantining has increased the tension for many couples and families. It is critical for partners and parents to manage their frustrations without hurting (verbally, emotionally, or physically) your partner or your children. The above suggestions apply. In addition:

  1. Try to remember that you partner and/or children are feeling a great deal of tension also.
  2. Remind yourself of the positive qualities that attract or attracted you to your partner.
  3. Relationships can be very challenging. Work hard at treating your partners (and children) with respect and consideration.
  4. With your partner, identify things that you enjoy doing together. At the same time, you don’t need to do everything together. In these situations, it is usually better for each person to be apart at times and engaging in alone time and participating in their own comforting activities.
  5. Try to find some creative and fun activities to do with your children. YouTube can help.
  6. Remember you (and your children) can go out as long as you practice safety guidelines.
  7. Try not to “sweat the small stuff” Couples I work with have said that the coronavirus and tragedies associated with it have helped them put things in perspective.

Do the best you can. Remember, it is natural to have some level of anxiety and depression. Try not to get down on yourself.