Staying Mentally, Physically Healthy During COVID-19 Pandemic
Amy Stark, M.D.
Mental illnesses are conditions that impact a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression and anxiety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on factors, such as going into isolation or quarantine and experiencing heightened anxiety because of COVID-19.
Amy Stark, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine and a psychiatrist with Texas Tech Physicians, specializes in addiction psychiatry. She recommends people do the following to stay both mentally and physically healthy during this time of uncertainty:
- Recognize what you can control and focus your energies there. Avoid large crowds, practice good hygiene and don’t touch your face.
- Limit news from unreliable sources. Refer to experts like the CDC or your physicians for updates.
- Continue with structure—even if you’re at home. Continue to keep a regular sleeping, working and eating schedule. Get up and get dressed. As tempting as it is to stay in pajamas all day, having a normal routine will help.
- Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Make phone or video calls.This is particularly true for people who may homebound. There are options for connecting with outside institutions. Many museums and parks are offering free virtual tours.
- Go outside in the sun for a little while.
- If you have known mental illness, continue to take your medications. Check with your physicians or mental health providers to see if they are offering telemedicine visits.
Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 information with TTUHSC's COVID-19 webpage.
For more information on mental health, visit the CDC website.
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