These are strange and difficult times. With so much focus on the physical symptoms of COVID-19, the impact on our mental health hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention. Here are 5 ways you can improve your mental health during the pandemic. 

5 ways to improve your mental health during the pandemic.
5 ways to improve your mental health during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas

Change can affect us personally, without us even realizing it. The change brought on by the current pandemic, however, has impacted all of humankind. This is hard to ignore.

Over the past few months, our humanity has been tested. This has forced change in the form of a survival response. In December of last year, an unknown enemy appeared. By the start of 2020, the damage had become far-reaching.

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that infects the respiratory system. Its outbreak started in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

During difficult and strange times, we might expect that our mental health would be affected. When we feel vulnerable and perceive danger, our natural response is one of stress and anxiety.

Here are 5 ways you can improve your mental health during a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association.

5 Ways to Improve Mental Health During a Pandemic

Avoid misinformation to improve mental health during the pandemic.
Avoid misinformation to improve mental health during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas

Avoid Misinformation

There are a lot of information sources available to us but many lack credibility. We need to be informed. We need to know what we are facing. But the information must be accurate.

Rumors and misinformation can spread fear and anxiety. Be careful what you share and verify what comes to you.

Maintain habits and routines to improve mental health during the pandemic.
Maintain habits and routines to improve mental health during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas

Maintain Normal Routines

Try to keep as much of your daily routine as possible and replace those activities that have been restricted because of the pandemic. You can also adapt to the situation and create a new routine. This will make you feel productive.

By maintaining daily routines and finding new activities that we enjoy, we increase motivation, while lowering anxiety. This will improve mental health.

Expressing your emotions can improve mental health during the pandemic.
Expressing your emotions can improve mental health during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas

Express Your Emotions

During hard times, it is important to be aware of and honest about our emotions. Accept your feelings for what they are, your natural response to the situation. We’re going through this together so share your feeling with others. Just remember to be understanding when listening to theirs.

Stay connected to friends and loved ones during the pandemic.
Stay connected to friends and loved ones during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas.

Stay Connected to Your Loved Ones

Fortunately, we live in a digital age. Technology makes it easier than ever to connect with others, even during a pandemic. We don’t have to be physically present to communicate. Stay in contact with your loved ones through social media and other platforms.

Doing things you enjoy can help improve mental health during the pandemic.
Doing things you enjoy can help improve mental health during the pandemic.
Photo by Haydee Vanegas.

Do Things You Enjoy

Take some time to yourself. Satisfying activities increase levels of our mood-boosting hormones like dopamine. This will obviously improve your mental health. Practice activities you can safely do within distancing guidelines. Dance, play games, sing—just do things that make you happy and improve your mental health.