Mental Health and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone. One way that most of the community has been affected, whether some care to admit or not, is mental health.
Mental health affects physical health. It is important to not ignore your mental health. We want to give deeper insights on how and why the pandemic has affected the mental health of so many, and additionally, give a few ideas on ways to improve your mental health.
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How has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health?
There are many ways COVID-19 has affected your mental health, let's go through a few of the main reasons this has happened:
- Isolation From Others
- In the beginning of the pandemic, states had stay at home orders and other “isolation” techniques – this brought many individuals who thrive off group meetings and more, a sudden change in their usual activities.
- Many people that are outgoing and thrive off being around others, were then pushed into solitude which can cause anxiety, depression and additional poor mental health problems.
- Without physical contact, many individuals experienced a “loss”. Those people missed the comfort of being around others – the simple “hug” from others can go a long way.
- There have been studies that shows most individuals should have a minimum of eight (8) hugs a day – which improves mental health.
- “FOMO” (fear of missing out) has been a topic of discussion. While events/parties etc., were put to a sudden stop, those that lived alone during the pandemic have had a tougher time than those friends and families that live together.
- Job Loss
- Whether you were laid off or put on furlough, millions of people were suddenly without work due to the pandemic.
- A loss of a job – whether your own or someone close to you, can cause friction, depression, anxiety and a slew of other mental health issues.
- Many people were worried about getting sick on top of how to pay their bills each month.
- Money problems can put a major strain on your mental health (source).
- Fear of the virus
- In the beginning of the pandemic, when the world was “shutting down”, and not much was known about COVID-19 and the effects, anxiety increased throughout millions of individuals.
- The unknown can be a terrifying thought – and while we are still learning and understanding COVID-19, with new variants mutating, we are more knowledgeable now.
- The initial shock and confusion throughout the world was not easy to navigate through. Fear and anxiety was common, and still is.
- Loss of Loved Ones
- A loss can completely deflate you, whether it was a loved one who passed from COVID-19 or other causes, it is never easy.
- There have been over one million deaths in the United States alone due to COVID-19. That number alone is devastating to hear. Yet, when one of those is someone you loved, cared for and were close to, that can be a hard burden to bear.
- While many individuals weren’t even able to have a funeral for their loved ones in the beginning of the pandemic, the grief felt is unimaginable.
- Experiencing Long COVID-19
- A common symptom for those who have been suffering from Long COVID – is “brain fog” along with quick exhaustion from day-to-day activities. Due to these two symptoms alone, that has caused a strain on those sufferings mental well-being.
- We are still learning the side-effects of COVID-19, and long covid is still being steadily researched. However, the suffering experienced over an extended period of time can cause anyone mental health issues.
While these are only a few specifics mentioned that have caused millions of people all over the world to face mental health issues, there are many that aren’t discussed here.
What are Ways to Better your Mental Health?
While there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to managing and “bettering” your mental health, we have put together a few common ways to get you started.
- Talk to your Doctor
- Whether it is to consult with your doctor on possible medication that may help or to get a referral for a therapist, discussing your issues with your general practitioner is a great way to start on moving forward to better your mental health.
- Join a gym / get active
- It’s been proven that being active – whether joining a gym, going outside for a walk around the neighborhood, participating in yoga or other activities can better your mental health
- Small steps make a big difference. If you’re having problems getting started, try starting by taking a short walk, maybe just 10 minutes. Or if yoga is more your style, start by some light stretching for 5-10 minutes every few days. Before you know it you will be on your way!
- Visit with friends and family
- Friends and family can make all the difference. Visiting friends for lunch, or dinner and catching up is a great way to bring positivity into your life! A laugh with friends and family – no matter how big or small is always a positive direction to take!
- Find a therapist
- Therapy is a fantastic way to get out your feelings and thoughts, work through them and find ways to heal and better your mental health.
- While therapy isn’t necessarily for everyone, it is a “tried and true” practice that is becoming more widely utilized. Online therapists are growing as well – so no matter where you are, you will have the ability to find a therapist to fit your needs.
- Practice Self-Care
- A great way to indulge in self-care is to focus on new or old hobbies, take a warm bath, read a book, treat yourself! Whatever way you enjoy self-care, try and spend at least once a week doing something just for you.
Regardless of how you work to better your mental health, even the smallest steps can make a big difference. Remember to take care of yourself.
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