Now that we’re one year into the pandemic, we’re beginning to understand how widespread viruses, such as the coronavirus, impact our mental health as well as our physical health. With vaccines being available, we’re trying to get back to our everyday life, but it is challenging as we continue to learn and adjust to this new post COVID-19 world.
While we’re constantly learning about the long-term physical effect on patients, we’re also learning about the mental effects coronavirus has left on society too. It is not something people like to talk about, but we’ve seen enormous consequences affecting our mental wellbeing.
COVID-19 has hit humanity hard, both physically and mentally.
And, although we can’t predict what will happen in the future, what we know for sure is that we need to be prepared to fight back with all of the tools that we have so that we stay healthy in both mind and body.
If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and are feeling depressed and anxious, you’re not alone. Half of the COVID-19 patients are struggling with symptoms that are affecting their mental health.
There are ways you get to feel better every day. Try using these simple pieces of advice and include them in your daily routine to feel good again.
Connect With Other People
The pandemic has brought specific health guidelines the public is encouraged to follow in order to stay healthy. Social distancing is one of them. The need to distance ourselves from others was crucial to stop the virus from spreading.
While that felt great for our physical health, humans are social beings by nature, and we need to stay connected with other people, especially with our loved ones.
While staying connected may seem a bit harder these days, connecting with others doesn’t need to be complicated to be fulfilling. Making that needed connection can be as easy as picking up the phone and calling someone, even just to say hello. Call your grandparents or that cousin you haven’t heard from in such a long time. A simple phone call goes a long way, and it can make both your and someone else’s day.
With all of the technology tools available, phone calls, and even video calls, are much more accessible than they used to be. Turn your camera on and chat! Host group chats on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. There are a plethora of other free services available to stay connected.
Stay Physically Active
If you’re on this page, you probably already know how physical activity can benefit your overall health, but did you know that it can help you ease symptoms of anxiety and depression?
Even though exercise is a great tool to lose weight, get in shape and improve their stamina, many people find that it also benefits their mental state and improves their mood.
People who exercise on a regular basis feel more energized throughout the day, sleep better, and feel more relaxed and positive. In addition, exercise is a weapon of choice for those fighting mental health battles to combat the symptoms such as anxiety, depression, negative thoughts and boost their mental wellbeing.
Regular exercise relieves stress, improves memory, boosts your mood, and improves sleep. And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to do it for hours. Even 20 minutes a day is plenty to reap the benefits.
Learn New Skills
When working on your mental wellbeing, it is essential to address the source of your . In addition, developing new skills and behaviors can significantly help your healing process because the inner work is not easy.
By learning new skills and behaviors, you are becoming more confident and more centered, grounded; you feel more resourceful and self-aware. With time, you’ll also feel more empowered, boosting your defense system and equipping it with the right tools to fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There are two categories when it comes to learning new skills and behaviors:
- Self-care skills: these include practices, methods, and routines to improve your health and promote a sense of empowerment and general wellbeing
- Relationship skills: these help grow and nurture your relationships with the people that you love
If you assess your symptoms, be specific and focus on developing and improving the parts of these categories that you feel will best support you.
For example, if you feel you struggle with feeling scattered, journaling is one of the skills that can help you stay focused. There’s something powerful about writing your thoughts on a piece of paper.
Did you know, giving back or any act of altruism (a selfless act for others without expecting anything in return) whatsoever can help your mental health?
Apart from the fact that you instantly feel better, the “Helper’s High” (a feeling you get when you help someone) can support you with keeping your blood pressure regular; it can increase self-esteem, lower stress levels, and increase happy hormone release.
If you pay it forward you can activate the part of the brain that is connected to pleasure, trust, and healthy relationships. It increases levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Giving back can look like many different things, and everyone can choose how to do it.
The most crucial part of giving back is the selfless act of care for others without expecting to get anything in return.
Mindfulness is intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment. It is your mental health first aid.
Many people can’t seem to focus at all because they feel like they have a million things to do. It’s a busy world, and it’s only natural not to be able to calm your mind, and that’s why it’s important to practice mindfulness even for just 5 minutes a day.
By doing that, you’re choosing to accept the present moment without any judgment. It is shown to be the most powerful tool in combating mental health challenges.
A happy and fulfilled life is not so hard to achieve. Being present in the moment makes you notice the beautiful small things in life you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
When was the last time you stopped to smell that beautiful rose on your way to work? Or intentionally listen to the sound of rain or the chirping birds in the early morning?
Mindfulness can help you accept the present moment and can help your overall well being, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression during the pandemic, make sure to try these tips and see your life slowly transform.