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Think back to your New Year’s resolutions as 2019 came to a close. Most likely, there was nothing in there about masks or hand sanitizer. No one could’ve seen this coming and, as a result, our collective mental health is under assault. Some 62 percent of adults now report feeling “more anxious” than they did last year at this time. This comes as no surprise.Your routines have been upended and your safety threatened. You’re missing close contact with loved ones and stressing over finances. And then there are the masks and the sanitizer and long lines and the non-stop news notifications. How can you cope as the new year blossoms?

Our Problems Didn’t End on New Year’s Eve

One of the most common refrains in 2020 went a little something like this: “I can’t wait for this year to be over.” This is understandable but not realistic. There is no on-off switch. As much as you’d all like to wipe the slate clean, there will be plenty of hard work to be done in 2021.

The foundation of such work is caring for your mental health. Learning to cope with uncertainty and stress is a crucial life skill. It provides you with much-needed resilience which, in turn, empowers you to better handle the ups and downs. There are many self-help steps at your disposal.

5 Ways to Cope With COVID-19 to Keep and Protect Your Mental Health

1. Practice Self-Care

So much of everyday life feels beyond your control and it probably is. But you can create a daily self-care regimen that will take back some of that lost control. Elements of that regimen may include:

  • Relaxation techniques and stress management
  • Daily activity and exercise
  • Regular, steady sleep patterns
  • Healthy eating choices
  • Carving out some solitude
  • Making time for others (see #3)
  • Powering down your devices (see #4)

2. Create and Maintain Routines

The development of your self-care regimen can help you form other routines. Such structure is essential to stave off the inevitable moments of anxiety and depression. These routines may involve work, study, exercise, meals, chores, and fun time. It’s not about keeping a rigid schedule but having a daily sense of rhythm.

3. Stay Connected in Any Way That Feels Safe

Here is where technology really comes in handy. If your current situation makes socializing impossible, come up with creative ways to circumvent that reality. Perceive this social time as a) self-care and b) an important routine to maintain.

4. Take Tech Breaks

Few of us thrive when they are inundated with tech notifications and incessant updates. Your phone presents you with an ideal way to practice cultivating structure. Schedule regular tech breaks to ease your mind and free your spirit. The headlines will there be waiting when you return. So much anxiety is founded on fears that never manifest. Don’t feed the beast.

5. Help Others

Nothing calms the soul like giving to others. Even in this time of isolation, there are always ways to reach out to those in need. From feeding the stray cats on your block to organizing a donation drive to the local food bank, altruism and compassion are healthy ways to redirect your mind and connect with others.

Ask For Help

In extraordinary circumstances, you sometimes need more than self-help. Working with a therapist — in-person or via video chat — can be the precise kind of support you need. Your weekly sessions will offer you clarity, validation, and hope. Your psychotherapist will serve as a guide as you navigate the uncharted territory of life in 2021. It all begins with more information about anxiety treatment and a therapy consultation. Please reach out today to find out more.