With the global pandemic and quarantine continuing, many people are concerned about others’ well-being, not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally. The mental toll of the pandemic is particularly hard on healthcare heroes and essential workers. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which brings to light the importance of taking care of all aspects of your health.
For a long time, mental health issues came with a stigma. With education and awareness campaigns, people are less likely to be told to “get over” depression, anxiety and other ailments. Perhaps a benefit to the times we are living in, the impacts of this quarantine are bringing a new awareness to mental health. Being in quarantine is particularly hard because people are now also physically isolated, in addition to socially isolated. The isolation is even worse for families dealing with relatives who are sick, not just from COVID-19, but many other illnesses.
I always tell people to be kind to each other. I think we need to go a step further and check in with and support each other. Although we are not together in person, there are ways we can connect with each other and take care of each other. We can Face-time our friends or family, host an online party or get-together using Zoon. We can still celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other life milestones, we just need take a creative approach. Many people have even opted for virtual weddings and celebrations to stay safe while still supporting family and friends.
Online support groups are another way of dealing with stress, loneliness, and anxiety. In support group settings, many people realize that they are not alone and, in fact, many people have similar struggles. Support groups also offer you the chance to offer good advice and coping strategies to others in addition to receiving help.
As the CEO of a non-profit organization, I have worked with our staff to offer webinars, zoom meetings and other resources to help people struggling during this time. Providing information and access to resources are the easiest way to help.
Although keeping informed during the pandemic is important, we sometimes need to limit the time listening to news. The news can be overwhelmingly sad, so limit that screen time rather than getting bogged down. Find news channels or social media sites that offer positive messaging and inspirational stories of people making a difference. There are good things happening. Sometimes you need to look a little deeper.
Focus on your health. Exercise. Get some fresh air. Eat healthy and get a good night’s sleep. When you are feeling well physically, it is easier to handle life’s ups and downs.
Try giving back and helping others. The best feeling in the world comes from helping others. You might be struggling, but others are, too. While we are limited to helping from a six-foot distance, it is possible to help organizations, groups and neighbors.
Most of all, be as grateful as you can. There are great things happening all around us and we are surrounded by people who are going above and beyond to bring hope to those who need. We will get through this together.