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Dealing with Mental Health: A Perspective Through and Beyond the Pandemic

December 21, 2020

How to Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being During and Beyond the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in our lives and altered our daily routines. Countries across the world have come to a standstill as they are trying to deal with this crisis. During the pandemic, the number of people dealing with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression also spiked and reached unprecedented numbers.

Let’s go ahead to understand how this pandemic can affect your mental health and how you can deal with it successfully.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on mental health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health has a huge role to play in how we think, feel, and act. It not only includes our emotional well-being but also our social and psychological well-being as being.

In the United States, mental illnesses are one of the most common health conditions with 1 in 5 Americans experiencing a mental illness in a year. It is also predicted that more than 50% may face a mental disorder or illness in their lifetime.

One of the biggest challenges we face today is that of uncertainty. We are unsure how long this current situation will last, and we don’t know what the future will bring. We don’t know if our jobs are secure or when a vaccine for COVID-19 will be available.

All this uncertainty could lead to stress and other mental health disorders. This is even tougher to deal with now that most people are sitting at home in fear of contracting the virus. Offices, schools, colleges, and all forms of social gatherings are being avoided as much as possible. This isolation and fear can even push people to resort to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. In reality, though, these substances only worsen depression and anxiety.

Now it is more crucial than ever before to take care of your mental wellbeing along with your physical health. Only when you can take charge of your body and mind will you be able to take control of your life.

Wellness does not mean physical well-being alone but also includes your mental well-being. The pandemic will end one day, but it is difficult to guess how long its effects would last on our mental health. Here are some tips to help you deal with mental health during and beyond the pandemic.

Mental Health Tips If You’re Working from Home

When the pandemic struck, many people opted for the safer option of remote working. After all, they could work from the comfort of their home and avoid long hours of travel. However, as the pandemic, lockdown, and social distancing measures continued, it became evident that working from home has its own set of challenges. Here are some of them:

Challenges of working from home

  1. When working from home, the distinction between your home life and work-life tends to get blurred. You have to attend to your work assignments and domestic tasks, and the distinction between these can often get blurry. The result can be long working hours and added stress.
  2. Getting out of your work mindset can get tricky even after you have logged out. Since you are not traveling back home after work, it can get difficult for your mind to switch off the work mode.

In a prominent survey, 28% of remote employees reported that they are suffering from anxiety due to separation from colleagues. In a study by TELUS INTERNATIONAL, 4 out of 5 workers found it hard to "shut off" in the evenings. Some serious stats, right?

So let’s go ahead and look at some ways to take care of your mental wellbeing when working from home.

How to overcome the challenges of remote working

  1. Create a separate physical space so that you can concentrate on your work without any disruptions. Doing so will also help you create physical and mental boundaries so you can accomplish tasks effectively without feeling overworked.
  2. Take small, regular breaks throughout the day. If you live with your family, friends, or a partner, ask them to encourage you to step away for lunch or coffee during the day.
  3. Work on building healthy habits like having a balanced, nutritious diet and doing daily exercise. These steps can directly improve your mental health.
  4. Have a small ritual that signals the beginning or end of each day. This can help you quickly get out of the work mindset and ease your nerves. You could begin your day with a cup of coffee and end it with journaling what you learned in the day.

Mental Health Tips If You’re Dealing With Loneliness

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines loneliness as the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact. Social isolation is a lack of social connections. Social isolation can lead to loneliness in some people, while others can feel lonely without being socially isolated.

People’s freedom of movement is severely affected today, all thanks (not really) to the pandemic. Many people have been feeling an increased sense of loneliness as they stay indoors most of the time.

Easy steps to cope with loneliness

If you’re having a hard time coping with loneliness, consider following these steps:

  1. Take part in some physical activity or create a routine to dedicate some time to your hobbies or passions. This can give you a feeling of accomplishment.
  2. Leverage the potential of digital technology to stay connected with your loved ones. This is vital during these times. Video calls with your friends and family can help you forget the physical barriers for a while and refresh your moods.
  3. You could use this time in isolation to take up things you enjoyed doing but didn’t have the time to pursue earlier. Whether it’s reading books, exercising, or cooking, use this time to focus on the forgotten aspects of your life.
  4. Make sure to keep the communication going with your loved ones. Addressing communication challenges are especially important at work if you are a part of the remote work setting.

Mental Health Tips If You’re Dealing With Anxiety

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

People dealing with anxiety disorders could have recurring thoughts or concerns. They might even have physical symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, etc.

The feeling of anxiety makes you feel like you are not in control of the situation. You may feel helpless and experience upsetting thoughts. This can lead to further panic and even depression.

How to deal with anxiety:

Similar to all mental health issues, the first step to defeat anxiety is to acknowledge it and not ignore your feelings.

  1. The best way to handle stressful situations is by practicing relaxing techniques to calm yourself down. You could choose something like meditation or breathing exercises to relax, calm yourself, and get rid of your mental stress.
  2. Watch out for subconscious body movements like shaking of your legs, finger movements, or anything unusual. If you notice something like this, remind yourself that you are in charge of yourself, and you have the power to control these actions. It may take a few days or even weeks, but you can easily overcome such symptoms with determination.
  3. You can consider joining online classes to introduce something fun and relaxing in your life. Whether it’s an online dance class or an online yoga class, or taking a virtual art tour, it’s all about finding what works best for you.
  4. If you wish to stay away from electronic devices, you can consider gardening, journaling, arts and crafts, cooking, reading, etc. to bring a sense of calm into your life.

Things to Remind Yourself During This Pandemic

According to the results of a mental health survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association,

  • 87% of American adults agreed that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • 86% said they believe that people with mental health disorders can get better, according to the poll.

While our society is facing a collective challenge in the form of this pandemic, the scary part is that it could lead up to a full-blown mental health crisis. Before we grapple with a mental distress situation, we must keep these self-care strategies in mind.

Accept that the stress levels you may feel are higher than before. Keep reminding yourself to be patient and kind with yourself and with the ones around you.

While making plans is crucial, remember that plans can go haywire sometimes.

At work, you and your team will need to have a flexible approach to doing tasks. Set boundaries wherever necessary but also remain flexible if and when the need arises.

Being healthy physically is not enough. Only when you enjoy both physical and mental well-being will you be able to live in an optimal condition. Whether it’s the pandemic or any other health challenge, a well-balanced health, and wellness approach is the key to surviving them.

At All Care, a leading health and wellness provider in the US, we take your mental health very seriously. If you have tried these steps but are still suffering from any form of mental health problem, get in touch with our team of experts immediately. Call us: 727-545-4545 or book an appointment online.