As local health authorities and the government have taken action over the past few months to flatten the curve, more and more people have stayed home, gone out less, and unfortunately had less contact and communication with their loved ones. These measures are set to help protect our physical health, but what is this doing to our mental health?
Don’t get me wrong - we need to protect the ones that need protecting, but we also need to protect our own health, both mental and physical, and it is extremely important to continue (or start) to prioritize self-care during this time...and after, as well. Being separated from friends, family, and colleagues may trigger feelings of loneliness, anxiety, anger, restlessness, stress, depression, and more. So, how do you prioritize your mental health during these times and after? Keep reading!
Keep Yourself Busy
If possible, pick up some extra work somehow. Maybe this means that you are putting more hours into your job, or you decide to pick up a new side job. Or, maybe you have a household project that you’ve been putting off or have been too busy to get around to? If that’s the case, get it done now! Organize that closet, put together a bookshelf, put all of your junk in the attic (or work towards getting rid of it). You might even consider learning a new language or trying a new hobby like baking, knitting, or taking online voice lessons. Of course, moms - you probably do not need the extra tasks to keep you busy. Your baby/babies are already helping with that. So, in that case, spend extra time with them! Help them learn about the world and the things that are going on around your home.
Consider A Digital Detox
Instagram is a highlight reel. We see this all the time. Unfortunately, it causes a lot of stress, depression, and other bad feelings to come up in some people. In addition to Instagram, limit all of your other channels, as well - even the Tv! While it’s important to stay up to date on the latest public health announcements, too much news consumption can increase feelings of stress and anxiety. If endless scrolling leaves you feeling overwhelmed, try setting aside regular time in the morning or afternoon to check your newsfeed and give yourself a time limit. Many social media platforms even allow you to set such parameters with their apps.
If you are experiencing stress and anxiety, sometimes a little bit of mindfulness can go a long way. Try some yoga, meditation, or even taking a bath and just reflecting on your day/week/month. If the virus (specifically) is what is stressing you out, focus on the fact that you are doing the right thing by staying home (or wearing a mask - or whatever you are doing) to preventing further spread of the virus and that those around you are grateful for what you are doing, even if they don’t say so in so many words. Positive thoughts can go a long way!
Know Your Triggers And Be Proactive
One thing that you really need to be aware of is your triggers, and this is a piece of advice that can go with you long after the pandemic, as well. Early warning signs of being triggered or getting yourself into a hole of anxiety are subtle (or not so subtle) shifts in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Don’t wait until you feel completely overwhelmed to do something about it. The earlier you address what is going on, the better. If you know that certain experiences or events negatively affect your mental health, try to have a plan going into it - or avoid it completely, if that is practical. Some of the tips above can really help you tackle stress, along with getting help and support when it is needed. For example, if you are really struggling with your mental health during these times and you’ve tried everything else (or maybe you just can’t even muster up the energy to try anything else), it’s probably time to talk with a reputable counselor, such as the counselors at Ray of Hope Counseling Services. They have Atlanta support groups that are so helpful when it comes to meeting with and talking to people who are struggling with the same type of problems. Ray of Hope Counseling Services offers therapy and counseling for individuals, couples, and families at eight locations around the Georgia area, as well as online therapy options. They have a long list of their areas of expertise and they also accept most insurance plans, which is a huge benefit! If you are feeling overwhelmed, definitely reach out to them!