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7 Self Care Tips to Improve Mental Health During COVID-19

written by Sarah Bolick

0951756001591041171.jpgIf you are struggling during these unpredictable times, you are not alone. Here is a list of suggestions on how to manage the increased stress you may be feeling due to the uncertainty in our world right now.

  1. Get outside. Spending time outside, whether it’s gardening, running, walking or just relaxing can improve your mental health and help you feel connected to something greater than yourself.
  2. Move your body. Getting between 30-40 minutes of exercise a day can improve your mood by releasing endorphins and dopamine, 2 hormones that increase feelings of happiness.
  3. Allow yourself to feel. During uncertainty, you may feel an increase in difficult emotions such as stress, fear, worry, or frustration. Identify these feelings and accept them rather than trying to push them away or judge them. In moments of intense emotion, remind yourself that no emotion lasts forever and that COVID-19 is also temporary.
  4. Connect with friends and family virtually. We are neuro-biologically hardwired for connection with others, so not being able to hang out with friends and loved ones right now can be difficult. Connecting with others virtually can help ease some of the stress we may feel from being isolated from our loved ones. Plan a virtual hang out session each week to stay connected.
  5. Create a schedule. During this time of uncertainty, it’s important for our mental and physical health to create consistency and predictability in our daily lives. Create a daily schedule that includes wake up times, meal times, work/school times, self-care time and bedtimes.
  6. Acknowledge what you can and cannot control. Try to accept the things you do not have control over, and then identify what you do have control over, ie your attitude, the way you treat others, how you manage your emotions. "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." – Maya Angelou
  7. Find gratitude. At the beginning or end of your day, identify a few things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude can increase dopamine production in the brain, improve sleep, and increase self-esteem.

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