Tips for Maintaining Mental Health

ExerciseWith all the changes that have occurred around the world, what are some common themes you are seeing with patients related to mental health?  

At PacMed, we know humans are social creatures. Given the current state of our world and the pandemic, people can have an increased sense of loneliness and isolation, especially while we’re in the peak of the holiday season. Depression and anxiety can also be increased given that we are unable to cope in the usual fashion such as interactions with our loved ones.

How does social distancing and isolation actually affect our body? What overall tips do you have for coping with all of this change?

Unfortunately, social distancing is what is needed during this time to prevent the spread of coronavirus and is what is needed for our community and the world to heal. Eventually, this will end. In the meantime, I recommend my patients try to find their silver lining. It gives us time to appreciate the things that we have and for our health.

While many families are still adjusting to remote learning and parents working from home, can you talk about what working parents and families are experiencing? 

It can be extremely difficult for families at this time.  I have 2 young children of my own and understand that it can be tough.  Keeping an open dialogue and relationship with family members along with keeping some sort of routine can help.  The Pacific Northwest is also a beautiful location where we can take advantage of the outdoors.

During times of social distancing, what are your thoughts on the idea “couples that workout together, stay together” concept?

All relationships take work and communication – whether that’s doing workouts together or working on the house together. Both sides need to communicate to ensure that their needs are met. That being said, couples who do activities together and communicate will find themselves happier.

For patients experiencing this kind of stress, how should they approach the conversation of mental health with their primary care provider?

Patients should feel comfortable talking to their primary care provider about any mental health issue or concern. We at PacMed are a great resource and can also help point them in the right direction and begin the conversation on your overall health and wellness plans.

Is there anything else you’d like to share as it relates to the above?

One thing I highly recommend for my patients, if they have not tried this already, is gratitude journaling.  There are a lot of so studies that show that after 6 to 8 weeks, gratitude journaling allows people to be happier even though nothing in their life has changed. And just like laughter, it can improve your outlook and mood. Given the state of the world we’re in right now, these small steps can create longer moments of gratitude and happiness to impact your overall health.