As the pandemic progressively shuts down the country, more and more people are being told to stay home and self-isolate. For many over-worked people, this staycation might seem heaven-sent, but as it goes into weeks and months, experts warn there could be a mental health backlash.
In a recent Psychology Today article, “Mental Health in a Time of Pandemic, The psychological effects of an outbreak,” author Sandro Galea M.D. said research into disasters and similar events and their impacts on mental health include effects like “depression, PTSD, and substance use disorders.” And, he said, these effects may last long after the epidemic is over.

So, here are some steps individuals and families can take to reduce anxiety, stay mentally healthy and preserve their well-being.

Stay active

While observing the need to practice social distancing, making physical activity a priority will pay off in a healthy body and a healthy mind. Spending time outdoors is especially beneficial because you get fresh air, hopefully a little sunshine, and relief from being bottled-up indoors. Play catch in your yard; take your dog (or cat, bunny, hamster, chicken, duck, etc.) for a long walk; head over to local walking trails and parks to enjoy the benefits of nature; or start cleaning up lawns and gardens for spring (Yes, it is here!).