Mental Health and COVID-19
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The United States is nearing the year mark of experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone around the world. Among many other challenges, mental health is one of the many aspects of people’s lives that are being affected during this time. Taking care of your mental health is an important part of staying safe and healthy. Self-care during this difficult time may be hard, but it is essential during this crazy year. Using self-care and taking time for yourself is something that is important always, and not just during this pandemic.
Anxiety about this new disease and the uncertainty about what could happen can be scary and overwhelming. Doing needed actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as social distancing, can make many people feel lonely and isolated. This can increase stress anxiety and even depression.
Ways to Cope during COVID-19
Some ways to relieve the stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic could be doing things like taking care of your physical and emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health can allow you to think clearly and have an open mind. Some common ways to take care of your emotional health could include things such as taking deep breaths, getting enough sleep, journaling, meditating, or seeking therapy. You can take care of your physical health by eating balanced meals and exercising regularly. These are just some ways that can help to keep you healthy and to reduce some anxiety.
Another way to reduce stress could be to take breaks from watching or listening to the news. Constantly listening to what is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic can be unsettling and frustrating. Taking some time to turn off the tv and focus on doing an activity that you love could help immensely.
Although social distancing is something that is greatly important right now, there are still alternative ways to connect with others. Connecting online, through social media, or through phone calls are great ways to stay involved with those in your life. These alternative ways of communication allow you to stay connected with friends, family and community members while also being safe.
In addition to these ideas, there are many other ways that can be used to help reduce stress and anxiety during these difficult times. The way you practice self-care could look very different from others. Find what makes you happy and use it. This could be reading a good book, watching a movie, taking a nap, taking a bath, going for a walk or anything else that brings you joy. Do something that you enjoy and focus on the good. With all the bad that is going on in the world, staying positive is quite important when moving through this pandemic. Any way that allows you to take some time for yourself is beneficial when dealing with stress and anxiety.
Hoping that mental health problems will just go away will only lead to worsening symptoms. Having symptoms can affect your daily life and make it difficult to carry out normal responsibilities. It is important to perform self-care, in any way that works for you each day.
Stress is a normal physical and psychological reaction to the many demands of your life. Although much of anxiety could fade after the end of the pandemic, stress will never be completely out of anyone’s life. Self-care is something that is important regardless if we are in a pandemic. Make sure to take some time for yourself and to focus on doing activities that bring you joy. Self- care is essential to your mental health now and always.
Author: Samantha Potocnik– Samantha is an intern at EVOLVE and a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.