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Painted Brain | Covid-19: Finding Your Own Self-care Strategies When Symptomatic
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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COVID-19: Finding your own self-care strategies when symptomatic

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A man wearing a covid 19 mask

It may feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is easing out with less strict mandates and high vaccine circulation, but people are still getting sick across the world. With an additional Omicron variant still on the rise, and as we are entering into the fall when more and more holidays are coming up, we may see a spike in cases. It is more important now than ever to remember our self-care techniques and tend to our mental health.

There’s lots of talk about how the pandemic has affected our collective mental health: we are still dealing with the financial toll it’s taken, the social isolation, the anxiety, among other factors, according to the Mayo Clinic. Earlier this year, the New York Times posited a term called “languishing,” which encompasses the “blah,” aimless feeling that we are all familiar with, only intensified by COVID-19.

It’s of benefit to know how stress affects you personally.  According to NAMI,  stress – similar to the type that you may feel if you are on a COVID-19 recovery journey – impacts you mentally and physically.

What happens if you test positive?

By now, we know the drill. Quarantine, test again, quarantine, stay in touch with doctors, etc. But, what is less known, is how to tend to your mental health during this time. But symptomatic or not, people still have fears of being unable to leave the house and are uncomfortable in social situations. The following self-care tips can even stretch to people who are still just experiencing that unspoken anxiety of re-navigating a “normal” – a mental symptom of the pandemic.

Some Self-Care Tips when Symptomatic 

Practice gratitude

  • Gratitude interrupts anxiety!
  • It’s known that practicing gratitude by journaling can improve well-being. Keeping a gratitude journal, or just writing down a few things you are grateful for daily, may help ground yourself and put things in perspective when you are feeling low.
  • Gratitude, coupled with other self-care techniques, is also known to improve productivity and work. Check  out this video for more–

Hang out with friends!

  • This one may feel paradoxical, but we are living in a world with so much technology access at our fingertips, making it easier than ever to connect with people, even if physically being with each other is not an option.
  • Phone a friend, FaceTime a  family member, or schedule a group Zoom chat with old high school friends. Connect! Try confiding in a close peer to feel connected.
  • Feel like you need a little extra boost? Services like BetterHelp have had a high success rate for therapy.

Meditate & be mindful

  • Meditation can increase calmness, relaxation, and psychological balance.
  • Taking just ten minutes to ground yourself may decrease your anxiety. Apps like Insert Timer or Headspace are great tools to use for the novice mediator.
  • Simply, boxed breathing exercises work to level your nervous system as well. Watch the video below for an example–

Home-cooked meal

  • To some, cooking is a ritual. Take your time to try a recipe you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Yes, it is important to be healthy and nutritious. But sometimes, we need comfort food. Try indulging in your favorite dessert, eat intuitively, bake something chocolatey. Whatever makes your soul feel good!
  • Here are ways to enjoy cooking if you are not a natural chef.
  • Bring back the 2020 Quarantine trend of baking banana bread! Try this recipe if you are looking for a fool-proof, no-fail one.

Plan for post-COVID-19

  • In a dream world, what would you like to do?  Sometimes, getting excited about future plans can be good for our mental health. Try safely planning a trip with friends, or even find a good outdoor restaurant you would like to try.
  • Here is a list of plenty of outdoor dining options in the Los Angeles area. Try looking up some in your local area.


  • Studies show that clean rooms and organized spaces can help mental health by reducing stress.
  • So, now might be the time to clean out your bedside table drawer that you have been putting off, or purging your closet. It will feel great when you’re done!

Watch  or read uplifting content

  • It’s normal to want to escape from this weird reality we are living. So, do it from the comfort of your bed!
  • Watch your favorite movie, start a new show, read a nostalgic book. This is important to unwind.
  • Need “feel-good” recommendations? Try reading The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy for a warm hug, or try watching Apple TV’s Ted Lasso bring a smile to your face.


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