How to Stay Mentally Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research
Foundation, Offers Suggestions
NEW YORK (March 19, 2020) - In addition to what we all know about hand washing and social distancing to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, offers these suggestions to help deal with stress associated with this pandemic.
• Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Reach out to your friends and family and talk and connect via phone or FaceTime. With all the technology we have at our fingertips, make use of your social network to not be isolated.
• Reach out to a neighbor who may need help. Be mindful if you have a neighbor who may be in the at-risk population and if you are heading out to the store, ask them if they need anything that you can pick up. This will not only help them, it will also help you. Simple acts like these can go a long way and can also make us feel better.
• Exercise. During stressful times going outside and taking a brisk walk can help you relax, boost your mood and help you in managing your stress levels.
• Eat a healthy diet. Research has shown that what you eat—and don’t eat—affects the way you think and feel.
• Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol is a depressant and drinking too much can often make your mood and anxiety levels worse.
• Get enough sleep. Make sure to put self-care as a priority and do your best to get enough sleep. Sleep has many benefits and during stressful times it can help aid in keeping your mind and body healthy.
• Consume the news in moderation. While it is important to stay informed and up to date on the latest information about COVID-19, too much information adds to our stress levels. The repetitive nature of the news reports is not good for our mental health. Once you are informed, turn off the news and read a book, listen to music, watch a good television show or feel-good movie. Now would be an excellent time to ask friends for recommendations of series to watch on Netflix or other streaming services.
“Most importantly, know that being anxious in this challenging time is a completely normal response,” says Dr. Borenstein. “Should the stress be too much for you to take, seek professional help for yourself, if necessary. We have faced other difficult times in the past and with proper care we will get through this too.”
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness. These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $408 million to fund more than 4,800 leading scientists around the world, which has led to over $4 billion in additional funding. 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research grants. BBRF operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants. BBRF is the producer of the Emmy® nominated public television series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, which aims to remove the stigma of mental illness and demonstrate that with help, there is hope.
Source: Brain & Behavior Research Foundation