While we take action to lessen the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on our communities and our health care systems, it is also important to minimize the secondary health effects of this pandemic. Widespread stress and anxiety regarding COVID-19, compounded by the economic distress due to lost wages, employment and financial assets; mass school closures; and necessary physical distancing measures can result in an increase of stress-related health conditions.
The California Surgeon General has a simple guide with things you can do every day, at home, to help support your mental and physical health, utilizing six key strategies:
- Supportive relationships: Maintain supportive relationships wherever you can, including virtually.
- Exercise: Engage in 60 minutes of physical activity every day, if you can. It doesn’t have to be all at one time.
- Sleep: Get sufficient, high-quality sleep. This may be particularly hard right now, but going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day can help. This loops back to exercise. The more exercise you get, the better your sleep will be.
- Nutrition: Ensure you are getting proper nutrition to help combat stress.
- Mental health support: Resources available here.
Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness in whatever way works best for you. This could be things like meditation, yoga, or prayer for 20 minutes, two times a day.