In the past few months, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has left all sorts of devastation in its wake. Some of the areas impacted include education, jobs and job security, the economy, the stock market, accessibility to groceries and supplies, peoples well-being and their mental health amid quarantine and in their day to day living. The list does not stop there. It continues on into other areas unseen or not experienced by your normal encounters. As a result, some, if not all, have been left reeling due to the uncertainty that this virus has left us with. What do we do now is a question that we all want to know. But with all of the unknowns and lack of certainty, one thing is for sure, your mental health and overall well being is of utmost importance during this time.
COVID-19 has caused, if not exacerbated, mental health issues experienced by the public. Individuals are reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety due to the implications of the virus on all facets of life, social distancing, and being surrounded by daily unknowns and uncertainty. Unknowns are the root of anxious symptoms and stress. Most of us like predictability. Most of us like knowing what to expect next. Most of us like an established routine. When these things become unpredictable, our worlds can be turned completely upside down. When most of us are not able to expect what is to come, it becomes hard to transition our minds into formulating a new concrete idea/routine that we cannot securely grab hold to in establishing a “new” norm. This simple idea of not being able to see our old world as it once was or secure anymore can lend itself to the creation of stress, anxiety, depression, paranoia, high blood pressure, body pains, headaches, worry and all other sorts of ailments.
What can we do? Great question. You can start by paying attention to yourself and your body in making sure you are aware of your own symptoms. During this time, it is advised that people need to be more mindful of washing hands, being more cautious to how you cover your coughs, etc. The same goes for your mental health. You have to be mindful of the stressors you are taking on during this time and combating them as much as you can with simple remedies. This is a time to be creative. So do that. Try something new. In the midst of social isolation, we cannot sit down and eat in the new restaurant down the street or participate in the new yoga class downtown. However, you may can tune into a new podcast, create new goals for yourself that you want to accomplish, create a means to serve others, or take up a new painting or art skill to practice until you make perfect to your standards. Being creative can yield huge dividends in caring for yourself.
Furthermore, you can also refresh an oldie but goodie. I used to love to knit. Nowadays, not so much. However, in refreshing this oldie but goodie, I can find other techniques to master or learn different stitching patterns to make something that I used to love to do a goodie again. Trying something different. Maybe researching a new recipe to entice your taste buds or stepping out of your comfort zone, doing something you have always wanted to do but was a bit fearful to do, or trying a side hustle to increase capital where needed. Now maybe the time to hone in on those things that may help you to grow in a completely different way.
Last, please make sure to take care of yourself. Make sure that you are able to eat a well balanced meal (for whatever your diet permits), exercise at home (there are a lot of free work videos on youtube and a few work out apps that you can utilize at your discretion and abilities), get out and breathe in the fresh air from time to time, continue to treat yourself (cooking yourself and family a meal, taking a nice bath, trimming up the facials, etc.), pay attention to your body (understanding what your body is saying with the ails you are experiencing), and utilize your counseling and healthcare professionals when and if needed (some insurances are allowing telephonic, tele-therapy and tele-medicine modalities to be used during this time-so check your benefits). This is a trying time for us all. Yes. We all are experiencing it together. Being mindful of yourself and others can help to alleviate some negative thoughts and feelings and can, potentially, have the ability to aid in improving your overall well-being.