At the mercy of COVID-19, many of us are confined to our living spaces and having to manage new routines, diets, and other activities of daily living. While the situation has affected us all differently, we’ve put together a COVID-19 mental health checklist to help you stay healthy, both mentally and physically:
1. Drink water (lots of water). If you’re someone who is at home now more than ever, you might start to recognize that you don’t drink enough water. One trick is to fill up a pint glass of water and keep it in the refrigerator. Every time you open it (maybe grazing for snacks), chug the glass of water.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like messes, and has a fear that the glass will tip over, even better! You’ll definitely drink that glass of water! Filling up a gallon jug and making sure it’s gone by the end of the day is another strategy.
2. Tend to something living. This could be another person, pet, or a plant. Don’t have a plant?! There are handfuls of kitchen scraps that you can start to grow right in your kitchen; for example, cabbage, broccoli, celery, and lettuce. All you need to do is place the white stalk part in a dish of water without submerging the top. Place it in sunlight, give it a mist now and again, and BOOM – you’re regrowing food you already had.
And don’t forget about green onions and scallions! These are some of easiest plants to grow from scraps. Just like lettuce and celery, place the white root end in a glass of water. Soon enough it will start sprouting, and you’ll see the roots grow. As long as you keep harvesting a bit from the top, those roots will keep growing. Make sure to change the water frequently, and keep it somewhere sunny.
3. Reach out to someone outside of your home. Call someone or shoot them a text, maybe check on a neighbor. Have virtual happy hours with friends or schedule a private yoga session via Zoom.
4. Do something to get your heart rate up. Whether you want to get outside for a walk, a jog, bike ride, or to practice yoga, try to set aside time for your physical health and get the blood pumping. Exercise naturally calms the mind and can help you feel renewed and refreshed.
5. Be mindfully present to your senses. Notice your response to stimuli. This could be a song or a sound, a sight of something, an experience within your spiritual practice. Go for a mindful walk and observe the world around, letting this shift in focus quiet your inner chatter.
6. Do something you’ll be glad you did later. Go the extra mile when cleaning, return that phone call you’d been meaning to, or finally tackle a small project you’ve been putting off.
7. Get in a good laugh. Memes, videos, comedies, chats with friends or family, or spending time with your kids can all bring about some much-needed, and extremely beneficial, laughter.
8. Do something just because you want to. Maybe you want to sleep in an extra hour, give yourself a face mask, pick up some ice cream, or spend time making a dish you’ve never tried before. When in isolation, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Maybe you miss a day of exercise or spend a little bit too much time in front of a screen- but that’s okay. There is always tomorrow to try again.
The pandemic has taken – and will continue to take – an incredible toll on all of us living through it, whether or not we are “directly” impacted. Hopefully this COVID-19 mental health checklist will be of service to you – and/or others in your life.