10 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health while Social Distancing

Social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly become our new way of life. Though an important practice for protecting our physical health, social distancing can create new challenges for our mental health.

Feeling challenged by isolation is normal

As our spheres of life and work become smaller and closer to home, you may feel:

  • Fear and anxiety about your family’s health or finances
  • Depression or boredom now that your regular routines are disrupted
  • Anger or frustration over having fewer choices about ways to stay active and engaged

If you’re facing any of these challenges, you’re not alone. We’re all in this together. Here are 10 ways to cope that can help you stay well, both physically and emotionally.

Resources to keep you calm and centered in difficult times

  1. Quiet your mind
    Mindfulness and meditation are two simple but powerful ways to help you sleep better and increase your peace of mind—both of which make you stronger during difficult times. Check out a range of free resources in Weathering the Storm from the Headspace app.

  2. Develop helpful habits
    Tap into a range of free trainings from behavioral health expert BJ Fogg that can help you deal with stress, work from home, strengthen your immune system, and more at Tiny habits for Coronavirus Challenges.

  3. Take exercise breaks at home
    Exercise is a great stress-buster and mood manager. “Get Fit. Don’t Quit!” program is a free resource from BCBSAZ for all Arizonans that offers exercise videos you can do at home, nutrition tips, and more to support your fitness plan. You could also try Glo’s free online yoga, meditation and Pilates workouts or choose from Glamour’s list of the 31 best free fitness apps.

  4. Stay connected
    Video visits are a great way to stay close to family and friends. FaceTime®, Google HangoutsTM, and video conferencing platforms (like Skype® and others) let you connect 1:1 for a virtual coffee date, book club, or just a chat.

  5. Volunteer
    Helping others is a powerful way to fell less helpless in a crisis. Arizona Together, our state’s new COVID-19 resource, needs the support of Arizonans who are able to volunteer to help our state face the COVID-19 outbreak together. Learn more and register to volunteer.

  6. Keep a gratitude Journal
    Research shows that having gratitude—by noticing when you feel grateful and writing it down—can really improve emotional and physical wellbeing. Starting or ending each day by writing in a gratitude journal can keep your attention on the good in your life—even in the most difficult circumstances.

  7. Practice happiness
    Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s resource center for Coping with Covid-19 offers a range of tools and strategies for cultivating calm and happiness as we face fear and uncertainty.

  8. Spend time outside
    Being outside is a great cure for cabin fever. Moving in nature is a way to get fresh air and exercise, soak in some vitamin D, and enjoy the deep nourishment of the natural world.

  9. Make something
    Creativity helps boost immunity, and it can also lift your mood. There’s something for everyone online! Find a community of makers, and try joining a creative challenge such as making art, writing, or cooking.

  10. Fill your cup
    It’s more important now than ever to spend time doing what inspires and interests you. Whether it’s binge-watching your favorite show, getting to that pile of books that’s been stacking up on your bedside table, listening to a live-streamed classical musical concert, reading poems, or touring a museum virtually, make sure you spend time every day filling your cup.

Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona (BCBSAZ) is here for your health. Together, we can support physical health while protecting our mental health in the fight against COVID-19.

Questions about COVID-19 or your healthcare coverage?

Learn more about navigating life in the time of COVID-19.

You can also call 2-1-1, anywhere in Arizona, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for updates about COVID-19.

Interested in learning more about mental health? On our Mobilize AZ website you'll find fast facts, coping strategies, and everyday mind-boosting tips.