Life during the pandemic can be difficult. Here are some ways that can help you improve your mental health. (Graphic by Natalie Ayvazian)
Fountain Valley High School

A pandemic mental health guide

With the many changes and stressors affecting our lives due to the pandemic, it’s important to prioritize our mental health and take care of ourselves during this time. Here are a few ways you can improve your mental health amidst everything going on.

Go outside

As long as you’re following COVID-19 guidelines, go outside! There’s so much to do out in nature such as taking a hike, going for a jog or sitting and enjoying the scenic beauty around you. Nature can be very calming and peaceful and it’s a great way to get out of your house and away from spending hours a day inside.

Take a break from social media

As students, we spend hours a day online. First, we go to online school, and then we do our homework, and on top of all that, we’re constantly checking our phones. Put your phone down and shut off all technology to finally get a break from the hold social media often has on our lives. Instead, find things to do in your spare time that don’t involve technology, like reading or playing an instrument.

Pick up some hobbies

After you’ve put your phone down, find some hobbies that you used to enjoy doing but never had the time to do. Try writing a song, cracking open a new book, organizing your room or something artistic like journalingcrocheting or painting. Whatever you decide to do, putting time and effort into a hobby is better than overthinking about anything stressing you out in your life. To reduce any anxious thoughts you may have during this pandemic, make sure to maintain a normal daily routine.

Limit your news consumption

Although it’s important to be informed about worldly affairs, you should also know your limits. If watching the news causes more stress for you, turn it off and take a break. Limit your news consumption to an hour a day or consume it in chunks and focus on other activities to keep your mind stimulated.

Exercise and relax

Exercising is a great way to get your mind off of the stress of school or any obligations you have, and it rejuvenates your body. Try exercising outside at a local park or in your room with workout videos on YouTube. After your workout, wind down by lighting a few candles and listening to music or catching up on your favorite shows. Self-care is especially important in improving mental health, so try out meditation techniques to relax. Make sure to catch up on some extra sleep whenever you can too!

Reach out

It can be difficult to spend hours a day online with little to no interaction with peers, friends and teachers. Instead of focusing on your loneliness, reach out to those around you. Spend time with family or FaceTime with your friends and play some video games. Join one of our many clubs at school and participate in their virtual events. Email your teachers to let them know how you are doing and ask how they are too. Reaching out, especially in a time where most of us feel isolated, is the best way to feel better about your situation and realize that you aren’t alone.

Most importantly, if you need help, ask for guidance from friends or trusted adults. Contact a Fountain Valley High School school counselor here or click here for more resources on mental health from the Huntington Beach Union High School District website.