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Mental Health DIY in the TIme of COVID

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With all the talk of risk mitigation amid this COVID pandemic, home improvement may seem low on your list of things to do.  But after we all have self-quarantined, maintained our “physical distance” (I don’t call it “social” distancing.) and stocked up on comfort food, please allow me to give you five insights into getting through this and coming out of this a better, more balanced and healthy person.

 

 

  1. Start with You – It is not time to slink into the recliner chair with the remote in one hand and a bag of chips in the other. Take stock of what you eat, what you drink, how you exercise and how you are sleeping.  Then choose one area for self-improvement, set a goal and work on it.  Then another…all of these steps that make a better you will also protect you from a virus.
  2. Reduce Stress – I know, easy to say, hard to do. Stress may have made our ancestors effective in defending themselves against predators, but they burn up our systems if we get stuck on “high alert.”  There actually is a special web site designed around how to calm ourselves about COVID-19.
  3. Socially Close while Physically Distant – I talked in an earlier post about ZOOM meetings with people who are important like family, friends and folks who just are isolated themselves. This last is important, because it can help us receive the calming benefit of extending our own empathy.  (Key is to ask a lot of questions instead of “dumping” about ourselves.)
  4. Use the Timer – This is not for the perfect three-minute egg, but for setting what I used to call with my kids “loving limits.” You may have your favorite newscaster or channel, but there is too much bad news if you let yourself get sucked into the endless news cycles.  Use your Egg Timer or your app: 30 minutes is a good limit…and stick with it.
  5. Attitude of Gratitude – I know it seems rather cliché, but you cannot tell the important people in your lives too many times just how important they are. You cannot stop to smell too many roses (I know I am rushing that season).  You would be amazed at how cordial strangers can be if you extend the first courtesy.

We at CCM want you all to remain safe and follow the rules so that you all will get through this health crisis.  And if you follow as many of these guidelines as you can fit into your day, you will be better coming out of this pandemic than you were going into it.  Be safe and be healthier.

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia. 

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