25 Things We Can Do to Take Care of Our Mental Health
We are in a crisis, Comadres. The COVID19 pandemic is taking its toll on us. The crisis is real and our community is suffering. According to the American Psychiatric Association the Hispanic/Latinx community are at high risk for physical, mental and financial problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new report by this association of respected mental health professionals states that in some areas of the country such as New York, Oregon and Utah, Latinos are getting infected with COVID at a much higher rate than White people. We are much more likely to have to go to the hospital and almost 3 times more likely to die from the disease than our Anglo brothers and sisters.
It’s Not Your Fault
There are very sad reasons for this and we are not blaming ourselves for this terrible tragedy but there are still some things we can do to not fall victim to COVID19 and its consequences.
As a Latina, we know you are LA MERA-MERA FREGONA in your household and that you have the power to convince your family members and friends to take care of themselves.
Here are 25 things we can do to take care of ourselves and address some of the mental health problems caused by COVID19. Most of these suggestions are from the American Psychiatric Association, but we added some of our own.
- Reach out and get support. Stay in touch with your friends and family via phone, WhatsApp or other technology. As a thank you to customers ZOOM is lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov.26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your gatherings don’t get cut short!
- Get in touch with your community churches and community centers for other sources of information and support.
- Eat healthy foods. – For those nights when you’re feeling uninspired about cooking follow us into our cocina for nutritious easy to cook at home recipes!
- Drink lots of water. – Try our free DLM app to use our checklist to track your daily 6 glasses of water. Share and check in with your comadres to keep each other motivated and hydrated!
- Get good sleep if you can. – Rub some eucalyptus oil or lotion on for some stress relief aroma therapy to help you relax before bed
- If you believe in prayer, pray. Remember your Abuela’s rosary?
- Meditate. If you don’t know how, learn. – We love following @wocsistercollective_ and @_ana_lilia for breathing workshops, guided meditations and community circles.
- Take a walk every day. – Take a daily walk for at least 10 minutes, we recommend that you always bring a mask with you! The American Hiking Society share FAQ’s for hiking and playing outside during the time of Covid
- Reach out and help others, but without risking your health.
- Obtain free food from your local food bank. – Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE for Spanish for information about meal sites, food banks, and other services near you. Or text 97779 with a question that contains a keyword such as “food” or “meals”. The hotline is managed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Donate food if you can afford to. (Some neighborhoods have their own food pantries.)
- If you have a chronic illness like diabetes, high blood pressure or another condition, don’t put off your medical care.
- Listen to music. – Put on “La Bicicleta” by Carlos Vives and Shakira and go out for a bike ride in the morning to start your day off dancing and with some fresh air!
- Get out into nature. Listen to the birds. – When you go, be prepared for closures. Many facilities are closed, including visitor centers, parking lots, bathrooms and even entire parks. Check the park or agency website for the latest information before you go, and even then, be prepared with extra water, food, hand sanitizer and yes, even your own toilet paper. You don’t want to have to stop for food or supplies and risk exposure.
- Share your story of bravery, kindness and resiliency with others.
- Connect to your cultura! Traditions, such as making shrines, doing limpias, or safely lighting veladoras will lift your spirits.
- Make your favorite foods from your culture. A good pozole or caldillo always feels restorative. – Make your favorite foods from your culture, a good pozole feels restorative! Feed your loved ones a healthy and delicious meal that will make them proud of their roots, and their panzas happy! Our easy-to-make pozole recipe can be found here https://delasmias.com/lazy-sari-posole/
- If you can’t work, call to find out about unemployment benefits. Some rules have changed. – As of March 2020, states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits. Please contact your state’s unemployment insurance office. Find Your State Unemployment Insurance Office (link: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance#find-state-unemployment-insurance-contacts)
- Use hotlines to get help if you are feeling like you have lost hope. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals and support to people living with a mental health conditions, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.
- Take a break from the news.
- Watch out that you are not taking in false information. Trust the Centers for Disease Control for information about COVID19.
- Keep following safety precautions. Don’t lose faith in science. Follow social distancing advice. Stay at least 6 feet away from people.
- If you can’t be 6 feet away, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Y por amor, pónte la mascara. Wear a mask indoors when you are with people who don’t live with you.
- Don’t give up. Help is on its way!
What story would you like to share with your Latina hermanas about coping during the time of COVID?
Please share that others may be healed and comforted by your experience.
Source: Corona Virus, Mental Health and Hispanics in the United States – American Psychiatric Association – This resource was prepared by the APA’s Council on Minority Mental Health and Health Disparities and the Division of Diversity and Health Equity. It was authored by Emily Paulsen and reviewed by Vabren Watts, Ph.D and Eric Yarbrough, M.D.