Putting a Mask on Your Mental Health
As much as it's important that we wear a mask and protect ourselves and each other during this pandemic, it's also important to protect our mental health during this confusing and challenging time.
With school going online and other activities and events being cancelled, you may feel like you are missing out on some of the most important moments in your life. You’ve also probably started valuing small everyday activities like catching up with friends or going to the mall, which you might have taken for granted in the past.
If you’re feeling left out due to the pandemic and find yourself being anxious and disappointed over what you are missing out on, and the big changes that are happening, remember this: you are not alone in this. It may seem like it, since the lockdown has forced people to literally isolate themselves, but there are probably millions of other people who are experiencing the same feelings as you. Your feelings are totally valid. So, to help you cope with these challenging times, we are bringing you some tips that can help you take care of your mental health during the pandemic.
Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings
In times like these, it is likely that you may be experiencing lots of emotions. However, people have a natural tendency to try to shut negative feelings out and try to act like they’re okay. This is unhealthy. Dr. Lisa Damour, expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author and monthly New York Times columnist explains it this way, “Psychologists have long recognized that anxiety is a normal and healthy function that alerts us to threats and helps us take measures to protect ourselves. Your anxiety is going to help you make the decisions that you need to be making right now — not spending time with other people or in large groups, washing your hands and not touching your face” Not only can your anxiety motivate you to protect yourself during this pandemic, but acknowledging it will also allow you to intentionally deal with it in healthy ways.
Focus on Yourself
This is a big one. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve started to appreciate my blessings more and prioritize my future, instead of dwelling on the things I’m missing out on in the present. Probably the only advantage that has come from this pandemic is that it has given us a lot of free time. So, I encourage you to put it to good use. Is there something you always wanted to learn or a hobby you wanted to invest more time in? Well, you’ve got the perfect opportunity right now. With the constantly evolving internet, there is almost nothing that you can’t learn from the comfort of your home. For instance, I’m starting to learn ASL!
If you don’t feel ready to opting for things that require more effort, you can spend your time reading a nice book or watching that show you’ve been putting off for so long.
The purpose is to spend less time stressing out about the current situation, and more time taking part in activities that you are still able to enjoy.
Connect With Your Friends
So you can’t meet your friends for a party. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with them. Social media is a great tool which can help you connect with your friends without breaking the rule of social distancing. Chats, video calls, Netflix parties—there is so much you can do with your friends without any of you having to leave your rooms. However, make sure to not spend all of your time in front of the screen. Engage in face-to-face activities with family members, write in your journal, meditate, and exercise. “It’s not going to be a good idea to have unfettered access to screens and or social media,” says Dr. Damour. “That’s not healthy, that’s not smart, it may amplify your anxiety.” As much as spending 4 hours on TikTok may be fun, it’s not healthy.
This pandemic will come to an end. But until it does, prioritize your health and well being. So that when it’s over and you can meet with people again, you’ll be the best version of you!
Thanks for reading!
Until next week,