During the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are feeling anxious and full of questions about staying healthy. While supporting your immune system is a top priority, mental health is just as important.
alive has asked a range of our favourite health experts questions on how we can thrive through this troubling time. Here are their top tips in response to our second question.
What are you telling your patients about protecting mental health during COVID-19?
Andy De Santis, RD, MPH
“That’s a tough one–I think for a number of my clients, food is no longer top of mind with all that’s going on and that’s okay–taking time and space to focus on other things is perfectly reasonable.”
“For others, they may focus on their dietary intake because all of a sudden time, added in with a reduced capability to move around, and it can be really challenging for those of us who are used to feeling in control.”
“My best recommendation in both regards is just to be kind to yourself, and continue to do what you can to move towards that place where you feel like you are making the most of this otherwise unwelcome situation–whatever that looks like for you.”
Paula Blanchet, RHN
“There could be many of us that are carrying the virus without knowing it, which is why social distancing is so important. What’s also important is not letting our immune systems become weakened to the point where the virus might then get a foothold. So, take this time to rest, calm the mind, stay nourished, and keep healthy so the virus–if it is in us–stops with us.”
Dr. Cassie Irwin, ND
“Prioritizing health over productivity is so at odds with our usual way of life, that I believe this has contributed to feelings of anxiety, aimlessness, and guilt about how to spend this period of time. While some people have thrived by tackling a huge project or learning a new skill, you might not be feeling up to that–and that’s okay. Have compassion for yourself and for how you’re responding to this situation. With the world thrown off-kilter, we’re each doing what we need to do to cope with instability and to cultivate balance within our own lives.”
Matthew Kadey, RD, MS
“You’ve got to get away from the computer and try to get as much fresh air as possible. A simple walk, even if alone, can do wonders for brightening up one’s outlook. And with fewer cars on the road, the air indeed is fresher.”
Want more pro tips? Check out our first installment about supporting your immune system.