Written by: Amanda Levison, M.S., LMHC, LPC, CCBT
It has been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world and changed everything as we knew it. Adjusting to working and attending school from home, wearing masks, and following quarantine guidelines was challenging and hard to make our new normal. For some of those with existing mental health problems, quarantine made those problems worse, and many without pre-existing mental health problems developed them or similar symptoms.
How can we continue to maintain our mental health during the COVID- 19 pandemic?
Continue to see your therapist or begin seeing a therapist if you feel your mental health declining. While some therapists begin to move back into the office, many still utilize telehealth to protect themselves and their clients. This means therapy sessions are easier to fit into schedules and accessed from the comfort of home.
Stay active. While it can be hard to go outdoors and stay active during winter, try to keep busy during the day doing things like cleaning or engaging in at-home workouts. Exercising and staying active promotes mental health.
Stay connected with others. It can feel like we are completely alone when we have to isolate, but staying connected is vital to maintaining mental health. Reach out through text, call, or video chat with friends and loved ones. If that does not feel like enough, make plans to have a socially distanced hangout.
Create and stick to a routine that includes plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise. Creating a routine can help feel stability in a constantly changing world. Getting enough rest and a healthy diet is just as beneficial as an exercise routine. Begin working these things into a routine until they do not feel like a chore.
No one deals with stress and hardship the same way. While these tips can help improve and maintain mental health, it may be necessary to still speak to a therapist to find a tailored way to cope and process the changes COVID-19 brings. While it seems necessary to press on, there is light at the end of the tunnel and a silver lining to the pandemic. It has brought families together, created more time for self-care, engaged people in hobbies and similar activities, and much more. Remember that the whole world is in this together, and it will not last forever.
If you are in a crisis and or know an individual is actively suicidal, call 911 to receive immediate help or visit your nearest emergency room. If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone over the phone. Individuals can also text HOME to 741741 to communicate with trained Crisis Counselors through text messages.
Postpartum Depression - Talk to a Mom who's been there, 1-800-773-6667
Vet2Vet Veteran's Crisis Hotline, 1-877-838-2838
The Trevor Project - Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LBGTQ youth, 1-866-488-7386
Check out these helpful COVID-19 blogs: