In recent weeks, we have provided a lot of information on taking care of our physical health. We have been asked to keep a safe, social distance from others, wash our hands frequently, wear face coverings and more. We know that the outbreak of COVID-19 has increased levels of distress and anxiety, particularly because of social isolation.
During this time, it is important to practice skills that will enhance our mental well-being.
Here are five tips to promote positive mental health.
- Engage in self-enhancing activities — Whether it is learning a new language, taking dancing lessons or meditating daily, developing new skills provides a sense of confidence and achievement leading to stronger emotional health.
- Limit exposure to news about the pandemic — It is important to be informed, but at the same time, we need to take breaks from watching, reading, or continuously listening to the news as this can increase our stress levels.
- Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep — Physical and mental health are interconnected, and it is important to exercise regularly, practice good nutrition and get plenty of rest.
- Invest time in relationships — Take the time to connect with other people and let them know what you need. Strong quality relationships have a great effect on our well-being. It is important to surround ourselves with those who have a positive impact on our emotional health.
- Embrace the gifts around you — It is natural to perseverate and worry about what is happening around us today. It is equally important to focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Practice mindfulness by being in the moment and make a conscious effort to appreciate the simple things such as, a great cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, being together with loved ones etc.
When to Seek Help?
When does one seek professional help for mental health issues? The following behaviors are red flags that signal the need for immediate attention:
- Drastic changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
- Feeling down or hopeless most of the time.
- Concentration difficulties that are interfering at work and at home.
- Self-destructive thoughts or fears that you cannot control.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
If you identify any of these warning signs, please consider contacting a mental health professional. Remember there is no shame in asking for help and a big part of improving mental health is taking this first step toward recovery.
For more information about mental health services and support, visit the following webpages:
- Call our Health Department Call Center at 703-267-3511 with Coronavirus questions; open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
- Text FFXCOVID to 888777 to receive updates from Fairfax County about COVID-19; text FFXCOVIDESP to 888777 for updates in Spanish.
- Email questions or concerns to email@example.com. This email account will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 6 p.m.
- Visit a web portal for coronavirus that serves as a one-stop online resource for information.
- Learn more about COVID-19 on the Health Department Coronavirus (COVID-19) Webpage or FAQ page.
- Follow the Fairfax County Government Facebook Page and Health Department Facebook Page.
- Follow @fairfaxcounty and @fairfaxhealth on Twitter.