How to Cope with OCD Symptoms during a Pandemic
Mental health is vital to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It impacts our decision-making and how we cope with stress, our relationships, and our physical health. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus has everyone concerned. Here are a few personal tips from KWC Minnesota’s Nurse Administrator, Ashley, on how to cope with OCD symptoms during a pandemic.
First off, social distancing is tough. It’s okay if you are feeling anxious, lonely, bored, frustrated, or angry. We, as people, are social beings. Second, give yourself a giant pat on the back for following the federal and state directives about staying at home. You are doing your part to reduce the transmission of the virus and protecting those who are most vulnerable. Be kind to yourself and others. We are all in this together.
Keep a Routine
To better manage the unexpected, do your best to keep a routine as much as possible. Establishing a routine provides us with structure, reduces the need to plan our activities, thus, reduces the number of decisions we need to make each day. This reduces anxiety. We become more efficient and can prioritize what’s important to us through routine.
Sunnier days are on their way. Sunshine provides us with vitamin D which is crucial for overall health. Get outside and move. Take a walk and notice the sights and sounds around you. Remember, to look up at the sky as often as you can. When you gaze up into the atmosphere, our troubles start to look and feel a little smaller.
Because of the ambiguity of these times, it’s also important to take control of the things you can change and acknowledge what you cannot. Make a list of your worries. Decide what it is you can control and come up with a resolution or plan of action. Crumple up the things you cannot control and throw them in the trash. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try some simple mindfulness exercises. It is a great habit to get into. Mindfulness helps us slow down, know ourselves better, and stress less. A simple exercise is to focus all your attention on your breathing and your body. Breathe in and out slowly, bringing your attention back to your breath every time your mind wanders until you feel calmer.
This is also a great time to explore a new hobby or reconnect with old ones. Turn off the news and social media. Dive into a book. Try a recipe and cook something new. My kitchen creations have looked like something off of Nailed It but I’ve had lots of fun and it’s a great distraction. Get creative and make some art! Take time to see the beauty around you and what is truly important.
At KWC, we are always here for you and your loved ones. Together, we will get through these times, coming out stronger and more united than ever.
Ashley Johnson is the Nurse Administrator at KWC Minnesota