COVID-19: How to manage your mental health during the pandemic (2024)

COVID-19 and your mental health

Worries and anxiety about COVID-19 and its impact can be overwhelming. Social distancing makes it even more challenging. Learn ways to cope during this pandemic.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought many changes to how you live your life, and with it, at times, uncertainty, altered daily routines, financial pressures and social isolation. You may worry about getting sick, how long the pandemic will last, whether your job will be affected and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumors and misinformation can make your life feel out of control and make it unclear what to do.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.

Surveys show a major increase in the number of U.S. adults who report symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia during the pandemic, compared with surveys before the pandemic. Some people have increased their use of alcohol or drugs, thinking that can help them cope with their fears about the pandemic. In reality, using these substances can worsen anxiety and depression.

People with substance use disorders, notably those addicted to tobacco or opioids, are likely to have worse outcomes if they get COVID-19. That's because these addictions can harm lung function and weaken the immune system, causing chronic conditions such as heart disease and lung disease, which increase the risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

For all of these reasons, it's important to learn self-care strategies and get the care you need to help you cope.

Self-care strategies

Self-care strategies are good for your mental and physical health and can help you take charge of your life. Take care of your body and your mind and connect with others to benefit your mental health.

Take care of your body

Be mindful about your physical health:

  • Get enough sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same times each day. Stick close to your typical sleep-wake schedule, even if you're staying at home.
  • Participate in regular physical activity. Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Find an activity that includes movement, such as dance or exercise apps. Get outside, such as a nature trail or your own backyard.
  • Eat healthy. Choose a well-balanced diet. Avoid loading up on junk food and refined sugar. Limit caffeine as it can aggravate stress, anxiety and sleep problems.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. If you smoke tobacco or if you vape, you're already at higher risk of lung disease. Because COVID-19 affects the lungs, your risk increases even more. Using alcohol to try to cope can make matters worse and reduce your coping skills. Avoid taking drugs to cope, unless your doctor prescribed medications for you.
  • Limit screen time. Turn off electronic devices for some time each day, including 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Make a conscious effort to spend less time in front of a screen — television, tablet, computer and phone.
  • Relax and recharge. Set aside time for yourself. Even a few minutes of quiet time can be refreshing and help to settle your mind and reduce anxiety. Many people benefit from practices such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, mindfulness or meditation. Soak in a bubble bath, listen to music, or read or listen to a book — whatever helps you relax. Select a technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

Take care of your mind

Reduce stress triggers:

  • Keep your regular routine. Maintaining a regular daily schedule is important to your mental health. In addition to sticking to a regular bedtime routine, keep consistent times for meals, bathing and getting dressed, work or study schedules, and exercise. Also set aside time for activities you enjoy. This predictability can make you feel more in control.
  • Limit exposure to news media. Constant news about COVID-19 from all types of media can heighten fears about the disease. Limit social media that may expose you to rumors and false information. Also limit reading, hearing or watching other news, but keep up to date on national and local recommendations. Look for reliable sources, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Stay busy. Healthy distractions can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression. Enjoy hobbies that you can do at home, such as reading a book, writing in a journal, making a craft, playing games or cooking a new meal. Or identify a new project or clean out that closet you promised you'd get to. Doing something positive to manage anxiety is a healthy coping strategy.
  • Focus on positive thoughts. Choose to focus on the positive things in your life, instead of dwelling on how bad you feel. Consider starting each day by listing things you are thankful for. Maintain a sense of hope, work to accept changes as they occur and try to keep problems in perspective.
  • Use your moral compass or spiritual life for support. If you draw strength from a belief system, it can bring you comfort during difficult and uncertain times.
  • Set priorities. Don't become overwhelmed by creating a life-changing list of things to achieve while you're home. Set reasonable goals each day and outline steps you can take to reach those goals. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. And recognize that some days will be better than others.

Connect with others

Build support and strengthen relationships:

  • Make connections. If you work remotely from home or you need to isolate yourself from others for a period of time due to COVID-19, avoid social isolation. Find time each day to make virtual connections by email, texts, phone or video chat. If you're working remotely from home, ask your co-workers how they're doing and share coping tips. Enjoy virtual socializing and talking to those in your home.

    If you're not fully vaccinated, be creative and safe when connecting with others in person, such as going for walks, chatting in the driveway and other outdoor activities, or wearing a mask for indoor activities.

    If you are fully vaccinated, you can more safely return to many indoor and outdoor activities you may not have been able to do because of the pandemic, such as gathering with friends and family. However, if you are in an area with a high number of new COVID-19 cases in the last week, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public or outdoors in crowded areas or in close contact with unvaccinated people. For unvaccinated people, outdoor activities that allow plenty of space between you and others pose a lower risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus than indoor activities do.

  • Do something for others. Find purpose in helping the people around you. Helping others is an excellent way to help ourselves. For example, email, text or call to check on your friends, family members and neighbors — especially those who are older. If you know someone who can't get out, ask if there's something needed, such as groceries or a prescription picked up.
  • Support a family member or friend. If a family member or friend needs to be quarantined at home or in the hospital due to COVID-19, come up with ways to stay in contact. This could be through electronic devices or the telephone or by sending a note to brighten the day, for example.

Avoid stigma and discrimination

Stigma can make people feel isolated and even abandoned. They may feel depressed, hurt and angry when friends and others in their community avoid them for fear of getting COVID-19.

Stigma harms people's health and well-being in many ways. Stigmatized groups may often be deprived of the resources they need to care for themselves and their families during a pandemic. And people who are worried about being stigmatized may be less likely to get medical care.

People who have experienced stigma related to COVID-19 include people of Asian descent, health care workers, people with COVID-19 and those released from quarantine. People who are stigmatized may be excluded or shunned, treated differently, denied job and educational opportunities, and be targets of verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

You can reduce stigma by:

  • Getting the facts about COVID-19 from reputable sources such as the CDC and WHO
  • Speaking up if you hear or see inaccurate statements about COVID-19 and certain people or groups
  • Reaching out to people who feel stigmatized
  • Showing support for health care workers

Recognize what's typical and what's not

Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. Everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, and it's normal to feel stress and worry during a crisis. But multiple challenges, such as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, can push you beyond your ability to cope.

Many people may have mental health concerns, such as symptoms of anxiety and depression during this time. And feelings may change over time.

Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling helpless, sad, angry, irritable, hopeless, anxious or afraid. You may have trouble concentrating on typical tasks, changes in appetite, body aches and pains, or difficulty sleeping or you may struggle to face routine chores.

When these signs and symptoms last for several days in a row, make you miserable and cause problems in your daily life so that you find it hard to carry out normal responsibilities, it's time to ask for help.

Get help when you need it

Hoping mental health problems such as anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms. If you have concerns or if you experience worsening of mental health symptoms, ask for help when you need it, and be upfront about how you're doing. To get help you may want to:

  • Call or use social media to contact a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Contact your employee assistance program, if your employer has one, and ask for counseling or a referral to a mental health professional.
  • Call your primary care provider or mental health professional to ask about appointment options to talk about your anxiety or depression and get advice and guidance. Some may provide the option of phone, video or online appointments.
  • Contact organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for help and guidance on information and treatment options.

If you're feeling suicidal or thinking of hurting yourself, seek help. Contact your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Or call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat at

Continue your self-care strategies

You can expect your current strong feelings to fade when the pandemic is over, but stress won't disappear from your life when the health crisis of COVID-19 ends. Continue these self-care practices to take care of your mental health and increase your ability to cope with life's ongoing challenges.

Nov. 23, 2021

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  4. Combating bias and stigma related to COVID-19. American Psychological Association. Accessed Oct. 19, 2021.
  5. #HealthyAtHome—Mental health. World Health Organization. Accessed Oct. 19, 2021.
  6. Your healthiest self: Emotional wellness toolkit. National Institutes of Health. Accessed Oct. 19, 2021.
  7. Coping with stress. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Oct. 19, 2021.
  8. Manage stress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  9. Health effects of cigarette smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 25, 2020.
  10. Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. March 27, 2020.
  11. Holman EA, et al. The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic: A probability-based, nationally representative study of mental health in the U.S. Science Advances. 2020; doi:10.1126/sciadv.abd5390.
  12. Wang QQ, et al. COVID-19 risk and outcomes in patients with substance use disorders: Analyses from electronic health records in the United States. Molecular Psychiatry. 2020; doi:10.1038/s41380-020-00880-7.
  13. Ettman CK, et al. Prevalence of depression symptoms in U.S. adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Network Open. 2020; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.19686.
  14. Czeisler ME, et al. Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic — United States, June 24-30, 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Accessed Oct. 12, 2020.
  15. Social stigma associated with COVID-19. World Health Organization. Accessed Oct. 20, 2021.
  16. Yashadhana A, et al. Pandemic-related racial discrimination and its health impact among non-Indigenous racially minoritized peoples in high-income contexts: A systematic review. Health Promotion International. 2021; doi:10.1093/heapro/daab144.
  17. Participate in outdoor and indoor activities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 16, 2021.
  18. When you've been fully vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Nov. 16, 2021.

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COVID-19: How to manage your mental health during the pandemic (2024)


How do I manage my mental health essay? ›

You can prevent mental illness by taking care of yourself like calming your mind by listening to soft music, being more social, setting realistic goals for yourself, and taking care of your body. Surround yourself with individuals who understand your circ*mstances and respect you as the unique individual that you are.

How do you deal with your daily life activities in the midst of Covid 19 pandemic? ›

So, let's look at some simple things we can do to keep life feeling structured, fulfilling and somewhat normal.
Keep or Establish Healthy Habits
  1. Eating nutritiously.
  2. Exercising regularly.
  3. Maintaining an adequate and consistent sleep schedule.
  4. Spending time outdoors each day.

How can I manage my mental health naturally? ›

5 steps to mental wellbeing
  1. Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. ...
  2. Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. ...
  3. Learn new skills. ...
  4. Give to others. ...
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

How you manage your mental health as a student? ›

10 Mental Health Tips for Online Students
  1. Learn to meditate. At the core of many relaxation routines is meditation, but where should you start? ...
  2. Get mindful. ...
  3. Eat right and exercise. ...
  4. Rest. ...
  5. Socialize. ...
  6. Set realistic goals. ...
  7. Make time for fun. ...
  8. Get out of the house.

How do you manage your stress as a student in this pandemic period *? ›

Practice self-care

Eat well. Try mindfulness apps. Find activities that engage different parts of yourself.

How do you deal with stress in a pandemic essay? ›

Consider waking up at the same time each day, exercising, showering, meditating, journaling, tidying your home or having a healthy breakfast as part of your morning ritual. Check in with loved ones regularly. Staying in touch with family and friends can help reduce stress. Consider ways to help others.

How do you manage stress in your life? ›

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. ...
  2. Take care of yourself. ...
  3. Take care of your body. ...
  4. Make time to unwind. ...
  5. Talk to others. ...
  6. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  7. Avoid drugs and alcohol.

Why is it important to manage your mental health? ›

It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Why is mental health important for students during this pandemic? ›

Children already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes, and now we are learning about the broad impacts on students as a result of schools being closed, physically distancing guidelines and isolation, and other unexpected changes to their lives.

Why is managing your mental health important? ›

Emotional and mental health is important because it's a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school or caregiving.

How do you manage to face the challenges you experience during this pandemic? ›

Steps to effective problem solving
  1. Define the problem.
  2. Think of as many solutions as possible, no matter how silly they may seem.
  3. Consider the pros and cons of each solution.
  4. Choose a solution to try.
  5. Plan how you are going to implement the chosen solution.
  6. Carry out the solution.
  7. Review how it went.

How do you make yourself feel better with Covid? ›

Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) or symptoms of COVID-19 feel better within a few weeks.
Treating a high temperature
  1. get lots of rest.
  2. drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear.
  3. take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.

How do you keep yourself motivated during this pandemic? ›

10 tips for staying motivated during the pandemic
  1. Start your day with a plan or schedule. ...
  2. Squeeze in shorter bouts of activity. ...
  3. Practice healthy and mindful eating. ...
  4. Be “social”. ...
  5. Notice how good exercise makes you feel. ...
  6. Get enough sleep. ...
  7. Relax and recharge. ...
  8. Reward yourself.
12 Feb 2021

Can you manage mental illness on your own? ›

In most cases, a mental illness won't get better if you try to treat it on your own without professional care. But you can do some things for yourself that will build on your treatment plan: Stick to your treatment plan. Don't skip therapy sessions.

How do you manage your stress as a student essay? ›

Strategies for Stress Management

Try to avoid people who stress you out. Further, if you cannot avoid a stressful situation, try altering it. Express your feelings don't bottle them up and manage your time better. Moreover, you can also adapt to the stressor if you can't change it.

How do you manage stress as a student? ›

Try relaxation and breathing exercises. Try to plan your time to help you keep track of your work. Break it down into manageable chunks so you can keep up with deadlines. Try talking to a friend, tutor or someone in your family about your stress.

How can I reduce stress and anxiety while studying? ›

  1. Breathe and stretch as you study. Breathing techniques are one of the quickest and easiest ways to relieve tension in the body and calm the mind. ...
  2. Become a pro at time management. ...
  3. Cut out distractions. ...
  4. Take breaks outside. ...
  5. Get your heart pumping. ...
  6. Talk it out. ...
  7. Make bedtime a priority. ...
  8. Get your study snacks right.

How did Covid affect mental health? ›

Information overload, rumors and misinformation can make your life feel out of control and make it unclear what to do. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. And mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, can worsen.

How do you cope up as a student this pandemic? ›

Take time for yourself each day.
Tips for college students:
  1. Know that it is okay to feel how you are feeling. It is normal during this crazy time to experience feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, or all of the above. ...
  2. Maintain a routine. ...
  3. Practice good sleep hygiene. ...
  4. Connect with others. ...
  5. Take a break.

How does COVID-19 impact the mental health of students? ›

The findings revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic caused stress which increased the levels of anxiety and depression among the students.

How do you handle stress and pressure best answer? ›

Some ways of dealing with stress to consider are mindfulness or meditation, getting rid of interruptions or distractions, prioritizing and balancing your work, and using stress as a motivator, among others.

How do you handle stress and pressure Example answer? ›

“When I am in a stressful situation, I often stop to take a step back and allow myself some time to think, plan and prioritise. For example, if I've got a lot of different University projects I'm working on all at once, I become more efficient with my time.

What are the 5 main ways to manage stress? ›

5 tips to manage stress
  • Use guided meditation. Guided meditation is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. ...
  • Practice deep breathing. ...
  • Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition. ...
  • Manage social media time. ...
  • Connect with others.
10 Dec 2018

Which of the following will help you maintain a good mental health? ›

Maintaining mental health and wellbeing
  • spend time with friends, loved ones and people you trust.
  • talk about or express your feelings regularly.
  • reduce alcohol consumption.
  • avoid illicit drug use.
  • keep active and eat well.
  • develop new skills and challenge your capabilities.
  • relax and enjoy your hobbies.
  • set realistic goals.
21 Oct 2017

What is the most important thing in mental health? ›

Mental Health is related to Emotional Well-Being

Taking care of our emotional well-being can help us be more productive and effective at work and in our daily activities. To maintain track of our emotional and overall well-being, we can seek mental health advice from friends, family, and a psychologist.

How important is mental health to students? ›

The importance of mental health for students

Our mental health has a direct impact on our ability to take in new information, understand new concepts and master new skills. When struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, working on assignments and attending classes can become impossible.

How can you boost your mental and emotional health at school? ›

  1. Promote positive body image and self-esteem. ...
  2. Teach stress management skills. ...
  3. Encourage outdoor classes. ...
  4. Promote emotional literacy education. ...
  5. Foster a sense of belonging and community connection at school. ...
  6. Provide students with mental health support in the form of a school counselor, social worker, or psychologist.
21 Mar 2022

How do you look after mental health in pandemic? ›

To look after your mental wellbeing during this time, here's some things you can do: Keep good routines, including a healthy diet, exercise and sleep. Stay connected with your loved ones. Talk to them about your worries and concerns on the phone or through online technology.

How can you overcome challenges in facing problems or situation in your life without affecting your mental health? ›

10 Ways to Overcome Challenges in Life
  • Make A Plan. While you don't know what is going to happen in the future, you can always plan ahead. ...
  • Know You're Not Alone. Every person in this world has their low points. ...
  • Ask For Help. ...
  • Feel Your Feelings. ...
  • Accept Support. ...
  • Help Others. ...
  • Think Big. ...
  • Positive Mindset.

How can mental health issues be prevented? ›

There's no sure way to prevent mental illness. However, if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control.

What is the best solution to solve this pandemic? ›

Help Stop the Spread of Coronavirus and Protect Your Family
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wash your hands often with plain soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Avoid crowds and practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet apart from others).
3 Feb 2022

How do you plan to improve your habits during this time of pandemic? ›

How to Adjust Your Study Habits While Learning Remotely During the Coronavirus
  1. Stay organized. ...
  2. Avoid multitasking. ...
  3. Make the most of video lectures. ...
  4. Set a schedule. ...
  5. Trade your strategies for new ones. ...
  6. Work with a group or team. ...
  7. Stay connected to other people. ...
  8. Reach out to your instructor and advisor.

What do you do in order to help yourself fight anxiety against this pandemic? ›

These tips can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried about COVID-19. You can also read our advice on anxiety about getting "back to normal".
  1. Stay connected with people. ...
  2. Talk about your worries. ...
  3. Support and help others. ...
  4. Look after your body. ...
  5. Stick to the facts. ...
  6. Stay on top of difficult feelings.

How do you nourish a good mind this time of Covid pandemic? ›

Drink plenty of water.

Being dehydrated can increase snacking or grazing and make you feel more fatigued, weak, and can affect concentration. Drink calorie-free beverages throughout the day, like water or seltzer.

What is the best way to manage Covid at home? ›

Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better. Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care.

How do you maintain your social life in pandemic? ›

Here are some ideas for socializing safely:
  1. Spend One-on-One Time With Friends. ...
  2. Get Outside. ...
  3. Make Some Video Calls. ...
  4. Try Some Old-Fashioned Communication. ...
  5. Enjoy Real-Life Activities Gone Virtual. ...
  6. Play Online Games or Do Virtual Activities Together.

What do you do to maintain your motivation during these difficult times? ›

How to Motivate Yourself During Tough Times
  1. Remember your mission. ...
  2. Visualise a successful outcome. ...
  3. Take a break and treat yourself. ...
  4. Break down big and scary challenges. ...
  5. Celebrate each small victory. ...
  6. Share your challenges and ask for support. ...
  7. Get inspired with your favourite movies, books, and songs.
18 Mar 2021

How do I get motivated mentally? ›

Here are some tips:
  1. Regularly review your goals and progress. ...
  2. Continue to set new goals. ...
  3. Keep the momentum up. ...
  4. Find mentors, for example, someone you look up to who is experienced in the habit you want to change. ...
  5. Surround yourself with positive people.

What does it mean to manage your mental health? ›

Increase awareness of your thoughts and feelings. Manage unhelpful thoughts. Develop more helpful reactions to difficult feelings and events. Be kinder to yourself and others. Feel calmer and more able to handle stress.

How can we treat and better handle mental illness? ›

Psychotherapy is the therapeutic treatment of mental illness provided by a trained mental health professional. Psychotherapy explores thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and seeks to improve an individual's well-being. Psychotherapy paired with medication is the most effective way to promote recovery.

How can I mentally improve myself everyday? ›

6 Easy-To-Adopt Ways To Improve Your Mental Health
  1. Talk Positively To Yourself Throughout The Day. ...
  2. Do Something You Enjoy Everyday. ...
  3. Get Plenty Of Sunlight. ...
  4. Connect With Others. ...
  5. Schedule “Relaxation Time” Into Your Day. ...
  6. Take Care Of Your Body.

What are 3 ways you can help others with mental health? ›

There are some general strategies that you can use to help:
  • Listen without making judgements and concentrate on their needs at that moment.
  • Ask them what would help them.
  • Reassure and signpost to practical information or resources.
  • Avoid confrontation.
  • Ask if there is someone they would like you to contact.

What are 5 lifestyle choices you can change to improve your mental health? ›

Lifestyle factors to improve mental health
  • Exercise regularly. Along with weight management and physical health, exercise offers protective benefits to your mental health. ...
  • Enjoy a healthy diet. ...
  • Get enough quality sleep. ...
  • Spend time with loved ones and build positive relationships. ...
  • Make time to relax. ...
  • Quit smoking.
23 Mar 2018

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