As we experience this unprecedented pandemic, it’s natural to experience fear, stress, and anxiety. If you find yourself wondering, “Why is this so hard?” remember that this is uncharted territory for everyone. Between the major shift in our day-to-day activities and social habits, lack of access to our regular coping outlets, and so many “unknowns” during this time, it might be hard to deal with all the changes.

Whether you’re quarantining at home, practicing physical/social-isolation, or if you are an essential worker on the front lines of COVID-19, your mental health should be among your top priorities.

Take breaks from consuming news. While it’s beneficial to stay educated during a pandemic, it’s not healthy to oversaturate yourself with news and updates. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a break from reading, watching, or listening to news stories. Temporarily avoiding or limiting the use of social media can also be beneficial.

Stay connected with others. Even though you can’t physically visit friends and family right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them in other ways. Schedule time with to chat on the phone or connect virtually via FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. Send emails, texts, or write and drop off letters or gifts.

Practice gratitude. During a time when we’re surrounded by so much uncertainty and negativity, it can be helpful to focus on the good aspects of our lives. Start a gratitude journal, and write three things you’re thankful for in your life each day. A gratitude jar can be a great activity to do with kids, too, by filling it with notes about things you cherish. You can also practice gratitude through prayer. Take a moment to thank God for the things you’re grateful for.

Remember to take care of your physical health, too. Make sure you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals and getting enough sleep. Incorporating physical activity, exercise, meditation, or prayer can all aid in taking care of your physical body during a time of immense stress. Overall physical health can help improve mental and emotional health.

If you are struggling, seek help. Even with all of these techniques, it can be very difficult to maintain good mental and emotional health, especially for those who have pre-existing diagnoses. Seeking the help of a mental-health professional can be extremely beneficial in terms of coping with your emotions and anxiety during this time. Many mental-health agencies are still offering psychiatric and therapeutic services through telehealth, including Christian Health Care Center (CHCC).

For more information about CHCC’s virtual telehealth counseling options, now accepting new clients, call CHCC Mental Health Central Access at (201) 848-5500. To learn about CHCC’s full COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, visit ChristianHealthCare.org.

Remember, wherever you are, we’re in this together.