There is so much uncertainty occurring in our current climate due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. It has affected the way we work, travel, and even communicate. These factors can cause mental stress and also exacerbate illness.
According to the Center of Disease Control,
“Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.” Mental Health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn about Mental Health, (May 2020). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov
In the Black community, we tend to experience health disparities at higher rates, and mental health disparities are no different. As our families are confined indoors with each other, we need to maintain mental wellness as much as possible. Here are 5 Strategies to Maintain mental wellness during the quarantine.
1. Keep a routine. Studies support that children and adults who stick to maintaining a daily routine have a lower level of stress and better health outcomes. We already live in so much uncertainty, so controlling your schedule will assist in structure. Children need daily structure to thrive.
2. Incorporate physical exercise into your day. Medical science shows a positive correlation between physical activity and decreased stress levels. Get creative with ways you can continue physical activity despite of quarantine. Learn a new dance move, create an allocated space in the house to perform jumping jacks, or start jogging in place. Do these things as tolerated and with clearance from your medical provider.
3. Reconnect with loved ones more profoundly. In this era of social distancing, cases of social isolation are concurrent. Taking the time to cherish your circle around you as engaging with them can also be calming. A simple phone call can do wonders in someone else’s life.
4. Create a grateful list. Writing down a few things every day or night you are thankful for, serves as a visual reminder of what is working well in your life.
5. Ensure you and your family are getting enough rest. Children typically need more rest than adults, depending on their age. We all need adequate amounts of sleep. It is very tempting to binge on reality TV, Netflix, and chill, but our brains need to rest also!
According to CDC, the following graph displays the recommended amount of sleep depending on age.
|Newborn||0–3 months||14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1|
No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
|Infant||4–12 months||12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|Toddler||1–2 years||11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|Preschool||3–5 years||10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2|
|School Age||6–12 years||9–12 hours per 24 hours2|
|Teen||13–18 years||8–10 hours per 24 hours2|
|Adult||18–60 years||7 or more hours per night3|
|61–64 years||7–9 hours1|
|65 years and older||7–8 hours1|
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