Health

We Asked Readers How They’re Taking Care of Their Mental Health During the Coronavirus Crisis. Here’s What They Said.

Coronavirus 2020

About Coronavirus 2020

Washingtonian is keeping you up to date on the coronavirus around DC.

Even if you aren’t stress-prone or you don’t have an anxiety disorder, it’s likely the Covid-19 crisis is leaving you worried. There’s a lot of information about taking care of your physical health—washing your hands, social distancing, not touching your face—but what about your mental health? We asked folks on Twitter to share what they’re doing to self-soothe, and if you want to share your tips, email Mimi Montgomery at mmontgomery@washingtonian.com

Here’s what they said:

“Valerian tea and supplements, spending as much time with my spouse as possible, prepping my spring garden, avoiding excess sugar, and no Twitter five hours before bed.” – L.B., 33, H Street


“So it’s been a hard week, but here’s what’s been helping me: being honest with my colleagues and friends about how I’m feeling, especially when I’m feeling really overwhelmed; social media breaks—especially Twitter; morning and nightly yoga routines (Yoga With Adrienne is AMAZING for this); eating healthy meals; reminding myself I’m prepared if I were to be sick or quarantined (I have cold medicine, cough medicine, soup, saltines, frozen foods, a thermometer, Advil, and Tylenol); and FaceTiming my family’s puppy a million times a day for moments of laughter and joy.” -Mina Radman, 27, Arlington


“Working in public health during this time has been really taxing on me, especially as I run a hotline about concerns regarding COVID-19. The ways I have been dealing with anxiety have been calling my best friend, practicing four-eight-seven breathing (my therapist suggested this: inhale for four seconds, hold for eight seconds, and exhale for seven second to reset your parasympathetic nervous system), going on walks during my lunch breaks, and practicing yoga or meditation at night before I go to sleep.” -Taylor Sabol, 21, recent transplant to Philadelphia


“My anxiety has been through the roof. I realize this is a super privileged response, but I’m on a wait list for an extra session with my therapist whenever something opens up and I got my psychiatrist to up my Xanax prescription. I am super reliant on my routines, so when things start to get hectic, I really cling to my mental health care providers. I’m thinking a lot about people who don’t have these options. I found that even asking for the extra appointment and getting on the wait list was comforting. I’ve also been calling my mom like twice a day.” –Hayley Alexander, 30, Capitol Hill


“I have generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD (among other things ). I’m not necessarily super anxious over my health per se, but I’m terrified about my family’s. What I’ve found to be helpful whenever a news cycle is super rough is, honest to god, true crime documentaries and podcasts (morbid is my personal favorite), face masks, and avoiding watching the news once I’m at home to respect my space between work and my personal life. One thing I’ve worked hard on with my therapist is retraining my brain to know I have safe spaces where I’m fully in control, and one of those is my living room on my couch.” -Anonymous, 25, DC


“I use free apps for breathing techniques and meditation. You don’t need to pay for basic functions. I like Calm’s breathing function. There are some good therapist-recommended YouTube videos as well. Also, taking baths at home with a cheap candle and Epsom salts.” -Nora McGreevy, 22, Chevy Chase


“I’m not worried about catching the virus. I’m young and healthy. But I’m a little panicky about all of the community events and social things that are getting cancelled, as well as working remotely full-time. I rely on being around fun people, coworkers, and cool events to manage my depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I’m going to try to recruit friends to do regular Google Hangout sessions so we can have social time without leaving the house.” -Anonymous, 27, Arlington


“Being around dogs is helpful for me! Our angel Maisie from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue offers a lot of distraction and love. I also love the Monterey Bay Aquarium live otter cam.” -Charlotte Fox, 36, Kalorama

These interviews have been edited for clarity. Washingtonian recommends always consulting your doctor before making medical decisions. 

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Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.