This dedicated post is about mental health awareness, and based on these uncertain times, it is very fitting to deal with the situation that we have at hand, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Life as we know it is forever altered due to this global crisis. Our way of living is changing right before our eyes, and for a lot of people, the feeling is not easy to adjust. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the relationship between mental health and COVID-19
How Do You know if your mental health is being affected by COVID-19?
Having such an unprecedented situation as this can be hard for some people. If humans are creatures of habit, then breaking our established habits can potentially have a lot of negative consequences. Here are some signs that you may be experiencing a negative relationship with your mental health and COVID-19:
If you have dealt with any of these feelings or changes, it is likely your mental health and COVID-19 are not getting along. Just know that it is OKAY and normal. Not too many humans can say they have experienced a pandemic of this magnitude. It can be frightening, but you do not have to live in fear.
Thinking about the way the coronavirus has impacted your life can make you feel worried or helpless. The good news is that you do have one thing on your side, and you can control how you use it (for now), and that is your time.
Time plays a major role in events like this because it will show who can take care of themselves and drown out the noise (a coveted yet, challenging skill to attain). How are you spending your time?
Are you eating junk food? Drug and Alcohol binges? News and Social Media? Netflix or video game binging? While this may be the best time to catch up on all your favorite shows, AVOID allowing these activities to dominate your time.
You can find much more productive things to focus on instead of worrying about things you cannot control; or by doing too much damage to your mental health and your body based on having ample freedom. Keeping a regimen can help ease idle time that could lead to your mind to run rampant. Mental health and COVID-19 are related closer than we know.
There are six main areas of our lives that are being dramatically altered by COVID-19. Our family’s mental health, finances, way of life, public safety, livelihood, future.
Families Mental Health
Our families during this time are all affected in different ways. From older generations to younger and those in-between, we are all dealing with this situation differently. A child who just started their first year in college and cannot go back will feel much different from an elder or a single working adult.
Things normally affect people differently, and this is no exception.
We are all trying our best to cope with these changes around us. The best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to be compassionate, understanding, and patient. COVID-19 is teaching us a lot about ourselves and others because of the excess time available. We often forget to call each other, check on others, etc., but this time allows the perfect opportunity to do so.
The most important, if not, one of the most important aspects of one’s life is their finances. Without it, you cannot do many things in the modern world. The COVID-19 virus and #stayhome orders from states in the country have changed our daily activities. A lot of people are not essential workers and must try and work from home, if possible.
This time has not been productive for workers or businesses in the United States. A record-high 25 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits to get through the times. Many companies have adopted forbearance strategies or have implemented discounts on their goods and services.
The government, seeing such devastation, actually gave qualifying citizens a stimulus check of 1200 dollars to help families with struggling finances, and a second check may also be coming again in August. The government also assisted small businesses that qualify to help with payroll and small management options of those affected by the pandemic.
Way Of Life
Our way of life is a very important factor that will no longer be the same when it is all done. We once were a careless species navigating the corners of this earth for adventure, pleasure, and conquest, but no more.
Governments are rolling out testing facilities, safe zones, and spaces to be clear from the spread of the virus as if this is not going away any time soon.
We are no longer accustomed to what our “normal” looks like, nor do we have any idea what the “new normal” will be in our lives. The best thing to do is stay alert and aware of big announcements and hoping for the best.
With a plethora of misinformation, it is hard to estimate the real effect the coronavirus and COVID-19 had on everyone. There have been orders not to wear masks, then to wear them again, to it not mattering if you do. We do not know which grocery stores are safe, which gas stations, which restaurants etc.
With the inconsistencies of people and businesses alike, it is very difficult to determine the severity of this pandemic and how we handle reducing the spread to improve public safety.
In reality, on the level most of us exist on, this virus is extremely difficult to detect and pinpoint origination spots. We still do not who truly is at risk (besides the obvious) and what are the best ways to prevent contraction.
Our livelihoods have been adversely affected by this pandemic as well. Just being able to go to the store is a hassle. Everything we have grown to love and enjoy is not the same.
Taking our kids to school, going to work, traveling, and just enjoying life will no longer be the same. The fact that we cannot walk freely in the world without a mask is something to be concerned about.
We do not see how this pandemic affects our regular days because we are in the midst of the storm. With no clear skies insight, what do we do? Our livelihood has taken a major step back and shift.
The most difficult aspect of this all is not knowing how the world will look post COVID-19 pandemic. We can all hope for the best, but preparing for the worse may be the best bet. Since we do not have an idea of what health, freedom, safety, or money will look like, we can take steps to make sure all is as good as it can be.
Making sure we have financial options in place, and plans for the future is extremely important. Because we do not know what the plan is, we need to prepare for any of them.
How to Improve your mental health with COVID-19
COVID-19 has been the terror of 2020. This year was supposed to have a clear vision for things in our lives. If you have noticed a difference in your mental health, you must take stock as soon as possible.
If you believe that you need to seek out help, there are a lot of states providing resources to individuals to receive free mental health counseling to help better cope with this crazy pandemic. Besides therapy, there are MANY ways that you can help get yourself out of the COVID-19 mental health decline.
COVID-19 and physical activity
Since COVID-19 has started, more people have been seen walking, bike riding, or working out in parks to stay physically and mentally fit. This benefit is one of the best things that you can do to release the endorphins in your body, which are responsible for giving you that “feel good” feeling.
Working out can be an added benefit to anyone struggling to handle this major crisis. If you did not understand the importance of working out before the pandemic, you will now! Not being able to go to gyms and sports clubs can be detrimental to your health.
We were always SUPPOSED to work out, and though we lose sight of its importance, now we need it more than ever. Our government has shut down nearly everything essential and has left open liquor stores and eateries, which do nothing but aid in the depletion of health.
Working out can help you take your mind off what is going on, and has the propensity to make you feel better about yourself. I have started working out at least 30 minutes a day for 3-4 days a week. And it is helping my mind escape this madness.
Learn something new
With a lot of businesses not fully operational, one thing that is for certain, we still have a lot of time on our hands. It provides an opportunity in COVID-19 to learn something new, which can be something that you have been putting off for years.
It can be something small, like learning how to budget better, or something complex like starting a business or learning a new language. Whatever you choose, choose something. Being productive during this time is very important. You can do a lot of what you wanted to do if you put your mind to it and minimize the distractions.
I have personally started a new program that helps me understand how money works. Although I have not been as diligent as I would have liked, I still do put forth the effort every week to learn a little more so that I have a better understanding of how currency works. It does not have to be this; it can be anything. Just do it!
Limit Social Media Usage
As we already have seen in many studies, social media does not typically add any level of benefit to our lives. It does quite the opposite. With the addition of a global pandemic, COVID-19, watching all of the status updates, constant conflicting information, and death tolls can have very bad effects on our well-being.
If you are addicted to social media, then take this time to limit your social media usage. It may be hard, but it will pay off in the end. I have become so turned off by the COVID-19 updates that I want to turn my phone off and never look at it again.
I have a news app that pops up, so I always see more cases in different states, people violating the laws, people trying to protest, etc. It’s just too much.
There is nothing wrong with taking the time to do another task or moving away from social media. As much as it can be addicting, like most things in life, if we are not on top of these things, our lives can spiral out of control. Don’t make the same mistake that you’ve been making. Take it easy!
COVID-19 will forever change ourselves. This event reminds me of September 11th, in the way that it was something we have never seen before. And, the world and our living conditions were never the same after. This pandemic has been a knockdown on our reality (or lack thereof).
Hopefully, we are moving toward things we need to do a better job of focusing on. But, the pandemic itself has been a blessing in disguise. We can escape a lot of things due to the hustle and bustle of life, and we have to face them head-on now.
Poor familial relationships, bad habits, addictions, poor health, etc., now is the time to address these issues. Even if there is a storm coming, you can either get your rain boots and umbrellas ready or whine about the rain.
Nonetheless, the rain is going to come. What you choose to do about it or how you handle it is ENTIRELY up to you. Please be safe, informed, and healthy.