• 66°

JESSIE: Practicing self-care in uncertain times

In times of uncertainty, the feeling of overwhelm can be caused by too many competing sources of information. Many people get their information from more than one place, creating a constant flow of material to have to sort through and process.

Many people want to stay informed so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones. However, spending too much time glued to news and media can negatively affect mental health. Have you found yourself feeling panicked, anxious or impatient because you are feeling overwhelmed? Here are a few tips for practicing self-care in uncertain times:

— Limit the ways you receive news or information. Choose one or two trusted sources of information, and unfollow the rest. Turn off unnecessary phone notifications. Do not keep the news on your television constantly. Pick one or two times a day to watch, and otherwise turn it off.

— Plan times to check social media. Do not let yourself scroll continuously.

— Move your body. Go for a walk, find a free online workout program, do stretches in your home, etc.

— Begin your day with positivity. Write down something you are grateful for and a way you can help someone else today.

— Share something to which you are looking forward. This is a great way friends and family members can stay encouraged and hopeful each day.

— Stay connected to people who matter to you. If in-person visits are discouraged, use video calling, text messaging, phone calls, letters, or postcards to stay in touch with friends or family members.

— Go outside. Sunlight and fresh air help improve mood.

— Keep a regular schedule. Beginning and ending each day with a routine helps your body deal with situations that may be different or challenging.

— Learn a new skill. If you find yourself with extra time, make a plan to learn a new skill. You can learn many skills and hobbies by using videos on the internet or books from the library.

If you feel very overwhelmed, reach out to a mental health professional. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline can be reached at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Karli Jessie is the agent for family and consumer sciences at the Jessamine County Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached at karli.jessie@uky.edu.