In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic human connection can be difficult. Any one suffering from anxiety and depression can see symptoms rise exponentially due to the stress of isolation, possible job loss, fears of the future, and overall concern for one’s health or that of their loved ones. Prior to the present crisis resources were readily available to assist those in need. Today those resources can feel scarce and often times impersonal. So what can we do to ensure our mental health does not take a back seat to society’s woes?
- You are never alone! Across the country there are a slew of residential facilities still in operation. If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression that cannot be managed consider treatment as an option. At Sabino Recovery we have gone to great lengths to ensure our residents are living in a healthy and sanitized environment. We take every precaution to secure our facility while maintaining the integrity of our program. As well our clinical and intake team are here to discuss other resources available in your area. Do not ride this storm alone. We are here to help.
- Reach out! Thanks to technology, there are a plethora of platforms available to offer virtual support. Sabino Recovery has started a weekly alumni meeting via Zoom. It is a wonderful opportunity to see familiar faces and gain wisdom from those in recovery. As well many outpatient services are being offered virtually to those new or seasoned in recovery.
- Go outside! With most institutions and establishments closed to the public the tendency to sit at home and isolate can be difficult to overcome. Commit yourself each day to leaving the house for a brisk walk, jog, or hike. If leaving your neighborhood is difficult stand outdoors and do some light stretching or mediate in the sun. Sunlight and fresh air are essential components to an overall sense of well-being and health.
- Turn off the news! While it is important to stay informed too much information can be overwhelming and induce depression and anxiety. Vary your sources of information. Watch a comedy, read a fictional book, or play a board game with a family member. You can even play a virtual game if you live alone. Get creative with your resources.
- Write! In a journal and/or letters to friends and family. Expressing oneself on paper is an amazing therapeutic outlet. Putting our thoughts and feelings into words can release their grip while honoring our experience. Journaling has been shown to have similar effects to meditation and enhances creative expression.
- Attempt to eat as healthy as possible. High sugar and starchy foods can bring on feelings of lethargy and decrease motivation to stay active. Sugar initially spikes insulin levels and provides a quick boost of energy. Unfortunately the down side is a drastic drop in blood sugar levels which can leave a person feeling overly anxious and/or sluggish. Fruit juice and soda are two of the biggest culprits as they contain mostly sugar with very little nutritional value. Sugar is also linked to inflammation which is linked to depression. Numerous studies have found that a diet consisting of primarily processed foods produce higher anxiety and depression rates than in those subjects who ate mainly whole foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and unprocessed meats.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is nature’s most valuable asset. Adequate water consumption can rid your body of harmful toxins. A toxic body fuels a toxic brain. It is the easiest and most effective way to encourage the process of cleansing your body and enhancing your mood.
- Words of affirmation! Neuroplasticity is the capacity of our brains to build new neural networks at any age. It can work for us or against us depending on our intention. During these times avoid if all possible negative people, messages, and images. Writer down a list of affirmations on a piece of paper and repeat them daily, or hourly if necessary. This will allow your psyche to become accustomed to positive emotions rather than negative ones. This is a practice that must be adhered to daily in order to have optimal benefits.
As you can see despite our current cultural climate you do have the power to make changes. Commit yourself to a plan and stick to it for at least one week. I guarantee the benefits will speak for themselves. Let us help you navigate these ambiguous times and together we can all make a difference.