Handling Mental Illness During a Global Crisis
I've battled moderate levels of anxiety for as long as I can remember. It wasn't until my PCP told me about mindfulness that I learned ways to manage it. Management has been especially crucial during the pandemic. Below, I've listed some techniques and resources that I use. It doesn't work for everyone and it doesn't always work for me - but it's helped way more than it's hurt.
- Meditating. There’s an app with hundreds of free courses with no time limit called Insight Timer. There’s also Headspace, which is really great too, if you are looking for a subscription option.
- Yoga. This is something I do at the end of the day after sitting at my desk. I’m lucky in that I was able to get the app Down Dog on sale, but I also found a ton of free YouTube videos that worked different parts of my body for almost any time interval I wanted.
- Running. This is to get my heart pumping, which I find grounds me. It’s much harder now with a mask, but a couple of miles semi-daily takes about 20 minutes. It’s well worth it, especially if you can find tiny side streets. If you can’t get outside, I find doing in-place cardio (jumping jacks, etc.) scratches that same itch. There are also free YouTube videos for this.
- Finding a creative activity. For me, it’s art — I have a quarantine goal now of doing a drawing every week. It also occasionally doubles as my relaxing activity (see below).
- Finding a relaxing activity. This is something you can do that will slow your mind down, but something you also find pleasurable. For me, I either do gardening or reading.
A big thing has also been knowing when to step away. I can't always do this, but on days that I can, I make it a point to close my laptop and take an afternoon. Whether it is to go on a walk with a podcast or to take a nap, it resets my brain and I feel refreshed for the next day.