Quarantines and isolation. Canceled lacrosse games and lost seasons. Dire news reports and social media messaging.

These are just a few of the things that could be contributing to increased stress and anxiety in all of our lives right now. We’re trying to cope with the coronavirus pandemic the best that we can, but our mental well-being and peace of mind are certainly being challenged.

A recent article in USA Today provided some advice from a licensed mental health expert to help reduce anxiety. While these suggestions are not specific to lacrosse players or athletes in general, they can be good strategies to help manage these unusual times.

Not to be confused with mental illness, the CDC defines mental health as our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

“If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, trust me, you’re not alone,” said licensed clinical social worker Sandra Taveras. 

Here are three of the suggestions for maintaining mental well-being that she presents in the article:

1. Schedule some media-free time.
We are constantly being bombarded with COVID-19 news and information, which can be quite overwhelming. Staying up-to-date is important, but its okay to set aside some time where you put away the cell phone and turn off the TV and radio. Taveras notes that stepping back from the headlines for even a short time can help in managing anxiety levels.

2. Get enough sleep and eat healthy.
Unusual home routines may be disrupting normal schedules, but getting ample sleep is still important. Taveras notes that a stressed body needs additional rest and recommends at least seven-to-eight hours each night to decrease anxiety levels. Healthy meals and a well-balanced diet can also boost the immune system and fuel the brain.

3. Think positive.
This may seem like an impossible challenge at this time, but Taveras encourages everyone to acknowledge the good things that are around us. Focus on gratitude and positive affirmations. Draw strength from the things that you enjoy. Remind yourself about the things that are most important to you.

Taveras also notes that help is available if needed. It’s perfectly acceptable to talk to a professional if you need further assistance. The article includes several resources that are available to the public.

Please click here to access USA Today’s full article, or visit the CDC’s website to get more information about mental health.