Using technology to mind your mental health during COVID-19 epidemic
The current COVID-19 pandemic has us all a little scared, stressed and uncertain. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress and different things work for different people. I firmly believe that during this time, technology has the potential to have a positive influence that can help us manage stress and stay connected.
Here are just some ways technology might help you during these new and uncertain times. We’ll be sharing more ideas and helpful tips on PsyberGuide social media in the coming days and weeks, so be sure to follow us @PsyberGuide on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Lots of wellness & meditation apps are providing free access. Here are some we have come across so far:
- Balance, a new meditation app, is offering a free one-year subscription to anyone who wants it. To receive the free subscription just download the app and then email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
- Headspace, a popular meditation app, has released free content, including content specifically geared towards health care providers and educators in the US. Instructions to access can be found here.
- Calm has compiled free resources in an online hub here. These include meditations for stress, sleep and more, and meditations for kids.
- Sanvello offers a range of coping tools and peer supports and has offered free premium access during COVID-19. The app also gives you suggested activities based on your mood — very helpful for self-isolation.
- Employers & payers can get access to Dayzz app at no cost which they can, in turn, provide to their employees. To access, email Dayzz CEO Amir Indutzky at email@example.com.
- Some other great wellness apps which have free content are SuperBetter, eQuoo, Happify — they also all have a gamified component, which can make them a good source of entertainment too.
- To find other wellness apps, visit psyberguide.org/apps, where we have reviewed nearly 200 apps for mental health.
Using technology to stay connected
Connection and community is really important for our mental health. While you’re self-isolating, technology provides a great way to connect with friends, family, other loved ones, or the community at large. Here are just some ideas on how to leverage technology for social connection.
- Establish specific chats or channels for non-COVID-19 talk. For example, in our Slack channel for PsyberGuide team members, we have set up a “quarantine life” channel where we are sharing photos of our pets, music, and tv/movie recommendations. Conversation about other topics can still continue, but this channel is a pressure-free space.
- If you’re working from home, FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom with coworkers. Consider having virtual lunch together or moving your email/Slack conversation about a particular project to a video call to help you feel more connected with others.
- Many gyms and clubs are now offering live streaming or online classes. Check your local centers’ social media pages to learn about their recent events
- Call, text or video a friend or family member to say hi!
- Have an online movie night with friends. You can do this through a Facebook Watch Party, Netflix Party, or alternatively all just hit play at the same time and chat via messaging or calls.
- Many artists are live streaming music each day (e.g. James Vincent McMorrow and Ben Gibbard).
When to unplug from technology
While I do strongly believe that technology can ultimately be a force for good at this time, there are times when the best thing for you is unplugging completely. Constant content and updates can be overwhelming. Consider using the screen time limit feature of your phone to set a limit for yourself for apps. These are not hard limits and can be ignored or extended, but may help you be more mindful about your technology use and help you consider if they are really serving you. You might also set a timer while browsing the Internet to make sure you use becomes contained and you do not become overwhelmed.
There are so many other activities and things you can do that don’t require technology. We’ll be sharing ideas for these on our social, so stay tuned. Visit PsyberGuide on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We’d also love to hear your suggestions and things you’re doing while at home.
Stay well and healthy, and do what you can to look after your mental health. Remember if you need advice or information on COVID-19, visit the World Health Organization or Center for Disease Control & Prevention websites.