The fight against the deadly coronavirus outbreak has left Americans in a state of uncertainty. Changes to daily routines—not to mention the fear that you or your loved ones might get sick—can leave you feeling stressed, depressed, anxious and isolated. And, if you’re among those on the front lines of the battle in emergency rooms and intensive care units, these feelings may be magnified.
“I think in a time of unrest, when many of us are trying to adjust to this new normal, it’s important to find your peace—whatever it may be,” says Dr. Melichar.
She encourages her patients to put down their electronics, turn off the news and just find happiness in the simple things. Whether it’s while you’re at home or after your shift at work, be sure to take a few quiet moments for yourself. Enjoy a sit-down meal with your family, read a book, meditate, go for a walk, or call a friend or family member. Taking your mind off the situation—even for a little while—can go a long way in helping you cope.
“I very much encourage people to take this seriously and practice social distancing,” says Dr. Melichar. “But at the same time, don’t let it encompass every moment of every day.”
Plus, if you’re anxious, stressed or depressed, it can be that much harder to focus on other aspects of your health, like good diet and exercise habits.
“Our emotional state affects everything we do: how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, how we perform at work,” says Dr. Melichar. “Improving your mental well-being can have a big impact on your success in all the things you’re trying to accomplish.”