May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The continual isolation and worries about social and financial impacts stemming from the coronavirus pandemic have put a burden on our mental health. How can you and your loved ones navigate the mental health woes of this unprecedented time?

April Ella, MS, LPC-MHSP-t, NCC, a counselor at Ebenezer Counseling Service in Knoxville, TN, recommends these helpful tips for coping during this time.

  1. Try to focus on what we have control of versus what we don’t have control of.
  2. Get outside. Most federal and state guidelines say you can go outside for exercise. Being outside and being as active as possible will help in the reduction of anxious energy and feelings of low mood.
  3. Get connected to a person(s) you trust, such as a friend, neighbor, family member, or counselor for continued or renewed support and interaction. You can have conversations with people maintaining the 6ft social distancing guideline. Or, try a virtual conversation.
  4. Be compassionate to others, most importantly yourself, about how you are feeling and managing during this time. Be aware and accepting of your level of coping without judgment. It is normal to feel how you are feeling, but also be open to asking for help if needed. There are people and professionals ready to help you. Just reach out!
  5. Create a new routine or structure to help in day-to-day living. Some days you may stray from the routine but keeping one will help you find a sense of balance.
  6. Put limits on how much media consumption you are taking in. Too much information, especially sensationalized media, can really alter our perception of our life and increase anxiety.
  7. Give to others through thoughtful deeds, checking on them, creating something, reaching out, etc. Giving your time, energy, or support increases our own sense of hope in the world and will help renew our focus.

Find a therapist

Helpline numbers

For an emergency, call 911.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Textline – Text HOME to 741741

Stress and Coping Resources – Online resource for relaxation/guided meditation/breathing exercises

CDC – Managing Stress and Anxiety