Mental Health and COVID-19: It’s OK to Not Be Ok
We’re just about a month in this whole shelter-in-place situation. The timeline for returning to regularly scheduled programming has been pushed out. And it is a moving target right now. In addition, we’re figuring out that there are challenges on top of challenges. Sure, staying at home in our sweats with our family of choice sounded good in the beginning. The “I’ll clean out all my closets,” and the “I’m going to work out every day,” rally cries are starting to lose steam. But guess what? That’s ok.
This is not the time to beat ourselves up with that old familiar voice that tells us we need to do it perfectly. No, we don’t. Pandemics can be stressful but there are tools we can use to recognize the COVID-19 stress and anxiety and support ourselves and our mental health with skill and ease. We just have to show up every day and do the best we can. It might be getting up and putting clothes on. Feed the cat. Do a work call even if you don’t have a zippy attitude. Just do what you can and get through it. It’s OK.
COVID-19 Tips to Cope
This won’t last forever. Not much does. So, press on; eat chocolate, call an old friend that makes you laugh. Do what you can. Reach out for support, if you need deeper listening. Telehealth therapy also provides a safe space. Tomorrow it just might be ok. In the meantime, here are some tips to sustain.
- Structure your time. Build structure into your days and map your time. It’s always good to plan the weeks, the days, and what are the best ways to fill your time. If you’re working from home, it’s always good to schedule your time, both for work requirements and for you and your self-care. It may sound silly, but using your calendar to carve out time for you is a good thing. Perhaps you schedule a daily walk or meditation time?
- Create space for activities. If you are in WFH (work from home) mode, try to set up your zoom/workspace somewhere particular, ideally away from your sanctuary space (bedroom/guest room/office). It’s ideal to separate where you work from where you unwind.
- Create connection. It’s important to stay connected when we feel isolated. Reach out to others. Call loved ones or face time/video call to feel more connected. If you can, maintain whatever extracurricular activities keep you feeling grounded and healthy. Maybe it’s an online yoga class or a group workshop online.
- Let go of expectations and enjoy your time. It’s OK to just let go sometimes. Go easy on yourself. You don’t need to use every minute of the day productively right now. There are other ways to use your time and be gentle with yourself. A little music therapy does wonders. Prepare a healthy meal. Cooking can be very meditative and is a great way to get lost in the moment.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to breathe and be compassionate with yourself right now. You are not alone. If feelings of lasting depression or thoughts of self-harm are present, there are people that can help immediately. Please contact us. We are here to help.