We’ve all been taking measures over the past couple of months to avoid getting COVID-19: frequent handwashing, stay-at-home orders, social distancing. While these actions can help our physical health, they’re not doing much for our mental health. Distancing ourselves from our loved ones, widespread layoffs, working in less-than-ideal conditions, and the constant worry of ourselves – or someone we care about – contracting a dangerous virus are adding to our stress.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the Catalyst team wanted to share the mental health practices that we’ve found helpful over the past several months.

Michelle Mader, President – Outdoor Time

I enjoy a lot of outdoor time: gardening, walking, sitting, etc. I also try to keep my routine as normal as possible. Up, workout, dress, eat, sleep at a decent time. No binge-watching.

Jessica Baker, Project Coordinator – Keep a Daily Routine

Keeping a daily routine has been key for me. I wake up at 6 am and take an hourlong walk through the neighborhood. I’m ready to start the workday no later than 7:30 am. I eat lunch while enjoying time outside on the lanai, and I wrap up the workday no later than 6 pm. I make sure to walk away from the computer every hour for a few minutes to get a step break. Bed by 8:30 pm to read for an hour. This schedule keeps me balanced and accomplished each day.

Erin Nelson, Director of Strategy – Physical and Mental Activity

I’m a terrible “relaxer” and love to be moving. I’ve been gardening and doing all kinds of at-home workouts. I decided to exercise the right side of my brain a bit and started painting a picture for my dining room.

Sharon Conklin, Director of Healthcare Operations – Gardening and Painting

I love to garden, so I’ve been planting roses, azaleas, and hydrangeas. I’ve also been painting my sunroom and living room. It was needed! This taps into my creative side.

Minta Ferguson, Director of Planning – Exercise and Belly Breaths

I have been mixing up strength training and cardio to keep active (mostly outside) and I try and do “belly breaths” once a day to manage stress levels. That keeps me calm and clears my mind.

Jennifer Nussbaum, Healthcare Planner – Exercise and Dog Love            

I’ve been maintaining some semblance of an exercise routine to keep my strength and stamina up when I can’t skate. I’m also spending time holding my furbabies and enjoying the time I have with them.

Korla Kudjiku, Healthcare Planner – Exercise/Organizing/Hobbies

Exercising and doing my hobbies help me maintain routine and structure.

Eric Morris, Healthcare Strategist – Exercise and Hobbies

Exercise is straightforward, but learning a new hobby/skill has really helped during quarantine. When I pick up the guitar, I lose track of time learning new songs and riffs. 

Trevor Hess, Healthcare Analyst – Staying Positive

To make sure I always have something to look forward to I have started making longer-term rituals to do on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. I’ve started ordering from a special restaurant one day a week and setting up biweekly trivia with friends.

Ali Hobbs, Healthcare Analyst – Staying Social

I set up a weekly Zoom call with my friends and one with my family. We do everything on the Zoom call from trying on new clothes to playing games, to showing home renovations.