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Dr Deborah Fernandez round headshot Deborah Fernandez-Turner, Acting Chief Psychiatric Officer of CVS Health and Aetna

These last few years have been difficult for so many of us. Whether you’re experiencing burnout and exhaustion, or you recently have been feeling more anxious or depressed, know you are not alone. Especially when you are not feeling your best, making changes can seem overwhelming but it is important to remember that even small changes can be very impactful.


If you’re in need, find support for your mental well-being by seeking care from a therapy resource of your choice:

  1. Schedule an in-person or virtual therapy appointment at a CVS MinuteClinic (schedule online or call 1-855-417-2486
  2. Find a therapist
  3. Speak with your provider or insurer about the right care options for you


Here are 10 things you can do today to help you on the road to recovery.

1.       Find the right help proactively. 

This will vary from person to person. Some will do well with lifestyle changes, talking it out with friends or family, or reading up on the topic. Others may need more, like support groups, counseling, or medication. If you’re unsure, start with your primary care doctor, who can help you sort out what may be most helpful. And, if you have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through your employer, that’ s a good place to start, too.

2.       Listen to yourself and honor what you need.

Ask yourself, “What do I need?” frequently and answer honestly.  Once you understand your needs, you can prioritize small goals to meet that need. It could be simple like needing a day off to regroup, maybe you need to laugh so a funny movie might do the trick, or maybe you need to allow yourself time to grieve so you can schedule some time alone and space to journal or think. The first step to meeting your needs is taking the time to ask yourself the question and listen to the honest answer.

3.       Notice how you speak to yourself 

Pay attention to your thoughts as if you were an observer. If a friend said the same things to themselves, what would your response be? Is what you are telling yourself true? Really true? Start to question and argue with your thoughts the same way you would defend your best friend.

4.       Get enough sleep

Study after study shows that sleep is vital to brain health. If you are not getting adequate sleep, you’ll likely struggle healing from any health challenge. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try going back to the basics. If that doesn’t work, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a short-term form of behavioral treatment that helps people problem-solve. First by identifying the relationship your stress is having on your thoughts and feelings, and then by providing you with specific actions and goals to address it head on.

Check with your primary care doctor when you have persistent sleep problems or for more information on CBT, as sleep disorders can be treated effectively once diagnosed.

5.       Move more

Any increase in movement is beneficial. You don’t have to start a complex exercise regimen to see the benefit. Even a short walk has been shown to improve mood and sleep, especially if you’re outdoors.

6.       Get outside

Speaking of being outdoors, any time outside will be beneficial and healing. Sunlight and nature are essential to mental well-being. No need to take a long hike, but rather five minutes where you are outside and fully present, especially in the morning, can help regulate circadian rhythm (helping you sleep better) and improve your mood and outlook. 

7.       Focus on nutrition   

There is no need for dramatic changes in diet unless your doctor has made this recommendation. Instead, incorporate lots of color to your meals by adding fruits and vegetables. Make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day, especially if the weather is warm in your area.

8.       Find a way to get creative   

The goal isn’t to create a masterpiece or even something “good.” Stop judging yourself and have fun and create. Maybe take up coloring or drawing, write a poem or hum a new tune. Trying something new and having a good time is an instant endorphin boost.

9.       Curate what you allow into your brain.   

What you read, listen to, or scroll through has an impact on your mental health. Notice how you feel and limit or remove anything that is an energy drain or builds negative thoughts. Substitute it with things you find rejuvenating. Maybe limit news consumption and increase reading fun novels or listen to podcasts you find uplifting.

10.       Recognize, strengthen, and embrace the support you have around you.

Building connection and community is vital to mental health whether is supportive family, friends, religious community, or hobby groups. For some ideas to get started, you can connect with an old friend, volunteer for a cause that speaks to you, or join support groups. These have been very beneficial for many experiencing mental health or substance use issues, as it connects you to others on a similar journey where you can share and learn.

It’s important to start small and incorporate one or two things at a time to build on habits and success. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Choose one achievable step forward today and celebrate that win, no matter what it is. That success can build on another for tomorrow, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling better in no time.

1Mental Health Counseling is available through MinuteClinic at select CVS HealthHUB locations. As of July 1, 2022, this service can be accessed both in-person in select markets and virtually wherever you are in the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Additional states and locations will be made available later this year. Check our Mental Health Counseling services webpage for updates and more details.