Table of Contents
Mental Health Matters
With the COVID-19 outbreak now a pandemic, the world has become chaotic. We are all experiencing something that has never happened before in human history. Countries are imposing coronavirus lockdowns, hospitals are nearly overwhelmed, schools and “non-essential” businesses are closed, people work from home, kids spend their spring break indoors and we are all trying to make sense of this unprecedented situation. Some people panic and self-isolate others aren’t worried at all and continue to carelessly go outside behaving as though life goes on as usual. But the world is different. Our daily lives have changed and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.
While initial short-term denial can be actually a good thing, a complete rejection of reality will produce the exact opposite effect. Denial is a self-sabotaging behaviour that prevents you from taking appropriate action and making conscious decisions, while acceptance of your current situation will not only help you gain mental clarity, but it will also help your mental health.
However, it is worth remembering that “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” You don’t have to like, want, choose, or support the situation you’re in, but you need to accept it to be able to think more rationally and make good decisions that will keep you heading in the direction in which you want to go.
So take a deep breath, accept that you cannot control the coronavirus pandemic, embrace the chaos and focus on your mental health – one of those aspects of your life you CAN control. Strong mental health will help you to regain your mental focus, improve your life satisfaction, increase resilience and turn a negative situation into a positive one. And without further ado, here are 10 simple and powerful ways to build strong mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Embrace The Chaos
Life is not a test but an experiment. You never know what happens next and what result your actions will produce, but if you are not moving forward, you are only becoming more stuck in a difficult situation you can’t control. Accept that you don’t need to have everything figured out in life to take an action. You can create an amazing outcome without knowing exactly what you want to achieve.
So stop focusing on how and when your dreams will come true, just focus on the present moment and try to make the most of it. Ask yourself what you can control, fix or change to make your current experience more positive, meaningful and fulfilling.
Create a clear vision of what you want to accomplish in the next future, set appropriate goals, take an action and start moving forward. If you don’t know what to do, just improvise. Listen to your intuition, trust your gut and take an action. Stop waiting and start doing. Put yourself in motion and start creating real results. Don’t wait for motivation and inspiration to strike you. Don’t wait until you’re not scared, take a deep breath, acknowledge the fear and act regardless of fear.
Fear is natural, especially the fear of the unknown. It is okay to be afraid. What’s not ok is to give in to fear, bury your head in the sand, give your power away and just sit back and wait for life to happen to you.
Fear can be a great motivator but only when you accept it. So stop fighting with your fear, instead, use it as motivation to achieve better things. Accept that you don’t have to know what will happen next.
Accept the things that you cannot control, get used to feeling uncomfortable, embrace the chaos and take intentional action. Stop thinking and start doing. You got this!
2. Manage And Reduce Your Stress Levels
We live in difficult times. The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. I live in Northern Italy and as you probably already know, here in the Italian Peninsula the situation is difficult, to say the least. The whole country has been put under a dramatic total lockdown due to a large number of infected patients. About 60 million people (me included) were placed under quarantine. It’s really hard to manage stress and anxiety especially because the situation is changing rapidly. None of us knows what to expect and we all live under a lot of pressure which negatively affects our mental and physical health.
The coronavirus pandemic is one of those situations that we cannot control and that’s the fact. But what we can STILL control how we respond to this dramatic situation. We can calm our nerves and stay cool even during these difficult times. Furthermore, staying calm and focus is the only way to get through this without going completely insane. So take some time to self-reflect, identify the regular stressors in your current life and find an effective way to deal with them so that you can prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it. Make relaxation an important part of your daily routine. Limit your news intake especially now, during the coronavirus pandemic, find a healthy balance and focus on what you can control. Because I can assure you, that there are MANY things you can CONTROL.
- Drop an f-bomb – it’s one of the most effective techniques for reducing overall body tension and psychological stress.
- Punch a pillow. Bit the hell out of it! – Pillow punching is a great technique for anger management especially if you’ve built up a lot of anger and rage in a relatively short period of time. Also screaming from the top of your lungs works remarkably well, however, if you’re living in a condo like me it may not be the best way (for legitimate reasons) to release tension and negative energy from your body.
- Keep a 5-minute journal
- Learn to deal with intrusive thoughts HERE
- Challenge your negative thinking using the mirror technique
- Use positive affirmations to boost your self-esteem and increase your confidence (make writing positive affirmations your evening habit!)
- Practice Mindfulness here
- Try relaxation Apps
- Do a quick deep breathing exercise (become aware of your breath)
- Try progressive muscle relaxation
- Try Guided Unwinding Mindfulness Meditation (guided meditations are fun and easy to follow!)
- Practice Gratitude (Practicing gratitude is a choice. You choose to appreciate what you have already. And trust me even now during the Coronavirus pandemic there are still plenty of things you can be thankful for. Besides, practicing gratitude when things are going wrong helps you to find positives in a negative situation)
- Talk to someone you can trust about your struggles (Talking to someone about your struggles is a great opportunity to release stress and tension from your body, refresh your thinking, gain a new point of view and in consequence look at your problem from a completely different perspective.)
Best Apps For Stress & Anxiety Relief
- SuperBetter (Android / iOS)
- Shine – Motivational texts (Android / iOS)
- Pocket Yoga (Android / iOS)
- Calm Meditation and Sleep Stories (Android; iOS)
- Happify: for Stress & Worry (iOS and Android)
- Happier (iOS)
- Headspace (Android; iOS)
- Breathe2Relax (Android; iOS)
- Anxiety Reliever (Android; iOS)
- Self-help for Anxiety Management (iOS)
- Sanvello (Android; iOS)
- SAM App (Android; iOS)
- What’s Up? – A Mental Health App (iOS and Android)
- Self-help for Anxiety Management (iOS and Android)
- Smiling Mind Meditation for all ages (iOS and Android)
3. Nourish Your Body
Now, it’s more important than ever to take good care of your body. So if you’ve already been thinking about improving your nutrition, adopting a workout routine, adopting healthy sleep habits or in general improve your lifestyle, it’s the best moment to do that! Here are some simple tips to do that:
- Level up your morning routine here
- Create a simple, fun and creative and daily self-care here
- Prioritize rest and relaxation
- Adopt a healthy night routine
- Get quality sleep on a regular schedule
- Level up your nutrition
- Stay hydrated
- Boost Your Immune System here and here
- Create a healthy work-life balance – especially if you’ve just started working from home
Try Best Immune-Boosting Supplements Of 2020
- Vitamin D here
- Vitamin D3 + K2 (MK-7) Amazon US / Amazon UK
- B 12 Vegan safe formula here
- Biotin here
- Omega 3 here
- Omega-3 fatty acid Amazon UK / Amazon US
- Vitamin C Amazon UK / Amazon US
- Turmeric here
- Lithium Orotate here
- Magnesium Amazon US / Amazon UK
- Vitamin C (Pure Acerola Cherry Powder Organic) Amazon US / Amazon UK
- Selenium here
- Zinc Amazon US / Amazon UK
- Ginseng here
- Oregano Oil here
- Organic Tulsi (Holy Basil) here
Grab Your Free Work-Life Balance Workbook
Grab Your Free Self-Care Workbook
Level Up Your Nutrition
- Follow a whole-food, unprocessed diet
- Discover the benefits of mindful eating here.
- Stay hydrated
- Add healthy fats into your diet (raw organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado oil)
- Eat foods high in antioxidants (blueberries, goji berries, raspberries, pecans, oranges, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, beans, beets, fatty fish AND dark chocolate!!!)
- Incorporate immune-boosting superfoods into your diet
- Try immune-boosting herbs and spices to support your immune system (Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Tulsi)
- Incorporate probiotics into your diet
- Reduce your sugar intake
- Read Nutritional Facts Labels before buying food products
- Avoid Frankenstein foods (Stay Away from GMO’s)
- Prepare your meal at home with fresh, high-quality food products (it’s easy, fun and money-saving!)
Make Your Immune System Bulletproof
- Hydrate like a boss (water helps remove harmful toxins from our bodies)
- Following a whole food diet (buy organic, real-food products)
- Use non-toxic, natural personal care products
- Avoid Hormone altering chemicals (stay away from BPA, Mercury, Dioxin, Perfluorinated Chemicals, Glycol Ethers, Organophosphate Pesticides)
- Free your home of harmful chemicals (avoid toxic cleaning supplies, toxic food packaging, cosmetic products packed with harmful ingredients)
- Clean the air at home naturally (get rid of artificial air fresheners and decorate your house with beautiful air-purifying household plants ex. English ivy, spider plants, aloe vera, weeping fig)
- Use non-toxic, natural, green cleaning products (DIY your natural cleaning supplies)
- Get a water filter system for your drinking water
- Turn off your wifi router at night (wifi router is a large source of emf radiation)
- Have a “no shoes” rule in your house
- Remove toxic people from your life, they have a problem for every solution
- Stay away from negativity
- Unsubscribe and unfollow people on social media that don’t add value into your life
- Manage your emotions
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4. Stay Active
Have you ever noticed how good even a little physical activity makes you feel? It’s because during exercise our body releases endorphins and increases dopamine and serotonin levels. This magic trio made up of your natural happy chemicals is all you need to activate your happiness mode. Furthermore, regular workouts boost your energy levels, reduces stress, increases self-esteem and keep you in good shape. Need I say more?
So instead of looking for an excuse to skip your workout think how great you will feel afterward and do a simple stretch, go for a walk or do a full-body workout at home! As you already know Italy has been put under a total lockdown and we have to stay at home and go out only if necessary. As you can probably imagine, almost everything except grocery shops is closed. I cannot go even for a walk BUT I still can do my workout at home. Yesterday I’ve made almost 12 000 steps just walking around the house! Call me crazy but I am proud of myself!
5. Work On Yourself
These are chaotic times and we are all scared mostly because it’s really hard to predict what will happen. But the truth is we NEVER know what is going to happen next because life is extremely uncertain and unpredictable. The only difference is that TODAY is becoming more obvious than ever before that we cannot control external factors.
The Coronavirus “situation” is changing so rapidly that it’s really hard to keep up. If I had to use one single word to describe what is happening right now I would use the word “chaos”. And as much as we prefer order now it’s time to adapt to uncertainty. Why? Well, because embracing chaos will help us to survive these stressful times.
To be completely honest with you, I had my major panic attack about 10 days ago when they put the entire country under the lockdown. Once I’d calmed myself, I realized that the only way to regain focus is to accept the situation as it is, embrace the chaos and focus on what I can control (it turned out that I can control a lot of things). It’s an unusual situation, to say the least, BUT we can and we should use it to our advantage. I truly believe that we all should use this “time off” as an opportunity to invest in ourselves and focus on self-improvement.
Investing in self-improvement it’s the best investment you can make because your whole future depends on it. We tend to think that there will be plenty of time for that but the time is now. That’s why I am reading, learning new skills, meditating (a lot), exercising every single day (home workouts can be really effective), practising gratitude and just trying to make the most of this strange situation. And I never thought I would say this, but, it turns out that having a balcony and internet connection is a luxury right now! I am so thankful for that!
This situation IS temporary. IT WILL PASS. But before it happens it’s important to stay focus, mindful and positive. I know, it’s not easy but it is STILL doable. Stay strong my friends we will survive this!
6. Make The Most Of The Self-Help Resources
Coping with stress & anxiety related to social distancing, quarantines, and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic can be quite challenging to say the least especially if you’ve been struggling with mental health issues before all this started. BUT, we should not forget that we live in the digital era and there are countless FREE self-help options you can find online that will help you to boost your capacity to cope and get through these perilous times. If you don’t know where to find them, I wrote a post about online self-help programs, websites, and resources. You can read it here.
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7. Practice Mindfulness
Guided Meditations – Guided meditations are highly beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing. They are a powerful tool in building self-awareness, gaining a new perspective, reducing stress and anxiety, accepting your feeling and emotions without judging them, increasing creativity and motivation, connecting with your higher-self, establishing a healthy relationship with your self, creating a mind, body, and spirit balance
Breathing Exercises – Mindful breathing exercises have a variety of benefits. Since we can control and regulate our breath we can use a simple act of inhaling and exhaling as a powerful tool in reducing stress, anxiety or getting rid of negative emotions like anger or frustration. Focusing on your breath can also improve your attention, concentration, and self-awareness.
Body Scan Meditation – It’s a powerful component of mindfulness practice designed to develop self-awareness. In particular, it’s a way to get in touch with your body. A way to narrow your complete attention to the one part of the body to move to the other part right after that. Body scan meditation practice improves the ability to move the attention up or down to the body. It trains your mind to switch your focus from detail to the wider one.
8. Boost Your Endorphins
Social distancing, quarantines, and isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic are quite challenging, to say the least. In these difficult times is so easy to engage in negative thinking and obsess over worst-case scenarios, but it’s not how you build strong mental health and improve your mood. So instead of watching news 24/7 that can only make you feel worse and worse do the things that make you feel genuinely happy, peaceful and fulfilled. Do something that feeds your soul and makes you feel alive!
Engage in an activity that inspires you, motivates you and makes you feel good about yourself. Feed your passion, treat yourself with your favorite dessert, go on a solo adventure, do an outdoor workout, go for a walk, read that book you wanted to but you didn’t have time for it, watch your favourite tv show on Netflix or do whatever you feel like but do something you love doing! Enjoy this life’s simple pleasures that have the power to make us genuinely happy. Nourish your mind, body, and soul. Treat yourself and treat yourself well. It is now more crucial than ever.
- RadioPublic iOS / Android
- Pocket Casts iOS / Android
- Podbean iOS / Android
- Spotify iOS / Android
- Overcast iOS
- Castro 3 iOS
9. Stay Connected
Whether you’re self-isolating or not during the coronavirus pandemic you should stay in contact with your loved ones. Just because you cannot spend time with your family and friends doesn’t mean that you should shut yourself off. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Isolation is hard. Social distancing, staying at least six feet away and avoiding physical contact is not something we are used to. But with a bit of goodwill, we can make this experience less fearful. Besides, we live in the digital era, we use technological devices all day, every day. We can stay connected to those we care about 24/7. You can self-isolating without feeling totally isolated. Trust me I live in Northern Italy and I cannot even go for a walk (not even mentioning going out with friends) but it does not mean that I stopped contacting my family and friends.
To be completely honest with you, I’ve never talked with my brother (he lives abroad) as often as right now. So I guess, there are some positives in this situation. So if you’re self-isolating right now just remember to stay in contact with your family and friends. Call them, do a facetime group chat, send messages and fun memes. Stay connected! Don’t shut yourself off from the world because it will make the entire “experience” much more difficult. Remember that as human beings, we are social creatures. We need each other for psychological survival. That’s why even introverts need community. Spending time (phone calls, messages, facetime chats included) in a good company is an incredible opportunity to create memorable experiences, connect with others, boost happy hormones, and relax.
10. Declutter Your Space
Since Italy has been put under total lockdown I spend a LOT of time on my balcony trying to get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. This small outdoor place becomes my favourite place. I drink my morning coffee, eat my brunch, meditate, do breathing exercises, read, write or even stretch there. I don’t have the best view but that’s ok. You cannot even imagine how grateful I am for my balcony!
Anyways, since I spend a LOT of time on my balcony I’ve noticed how often people take the trash out. It’s incredible. Some of my neighbours throw out their trash 10 times a day. I am not even kidding. They do it not because they have so much trash to get rid of but because they just need to go out even for 1 minute.
Living under a total lockdown is REALLY hard and we all hope it will end soon but for now, we need to do everything we can to stay safe, stay positive and take good care of our mental and physical health. And believe me or not, but organizing, decluttering and tidying up your space do wonders for your mental health. It happens because your internal world and your external personal space together represent the field of your being. That’s why I highly recommend you dedicate some time to clean your external personal space, get rid of unnecessary stuff, do your laundry, clean your desk, take out the trash, clean and clear your garden (if you have one) and do whatever you need to do to make your surroundings clean, organized and presentable.
Trust me this simple act of cleaning your personal space will boost your happy hormones, increase your motivation and improve your overall health. But hey, don’t take my word for it, just try it. Do it on your own. Make your environment more presentable and see how it impacts your state of being. If your place is a complete mess you may need more than 5 minutes but the result is worth both the time and effort!
Grab Your Natural Immune-Boosters Checklist
Best Posts About Achieving Goals:
- How To Stay Positive During The Times Of Coronavirus: A Simple Five-Step Process To Create Happiness Regardless Of The Circumstances. HERE
- Immunity-Boosting Shopping List On A Budget – Make Your Immune System Bulletproof And Build Your Resistance To Viruses Now! HERE
- 10 Simple Ways To Boost Your Immune System During The days Of Coronavirus. HERE
- The 20 Most Unexpected Benefits of Anxiety HERE
- Anxiety Self-Kit – Create Your Own Self-Calming Strategy. HERE
- Smart and Powerful Ways to Deal with a Panic Attack in a Public Place. HERE
- 7 Steps To Detox Your Mental Health HERE
- 10 Powerful Ways To Recover After A Hard Day HERE
- In Search Of Sleep – Get a Good Night Sleep HERE
- Perfect Morning Routine to Reduce Stress & Anxiety HERE
- The 3 x 8 Method Will Immediately Change Your Life For Better! HERE
- 10 simple ways to bring mindfulness into your daily life HERE
Boost your mental health!
and remeber that
We will get through this together!