It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has done a number on the international community’s mental health. It seems that not a single person was left unscathed this past year, and it’s not hard to understand why. We’ve collectively seen death and disease in staggering numbers, been forbidden to leave our homes and see our loved ones, experienced loss of income and unemployment, and been forced to come to terms with our world looking nothing like the one we’d grown up with and gotten used to.
It’s no wonder why the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder has gone up by 400% from one in ten to four in ten during the pandemic. And with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression come more challenges: difficulty sleeping and eating, increase in alcohol consumption and substance abuse, and worsening chronic health conditions. Yet the perpetually underfunded mental health services sector is only being more disrupted or even halted in 93% of countries worldwide, specifically during a time when we need it most.
That being said, if you are one of the many people who are finding themselves experiencing increased anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not mean that there aren’t steps you can take to help cope. By being proactive and taking means to address your stress and anxiety in a healthy way, you will improve your resiliency and get through the remainder of this pandemic if not better off, than at least with more strength and coping tools.
Give Yourself a Break
When something as major as a global pandemic – the first in nearly all of our lifetimes – happens, it is only natural to want to stay in the loop and informed about what is going on. You have an innate tendency to seek knowledge about what is going on around you, what the latest science tells us, what the most up-to-date health guidelines are, how many people are sick, how many are recovered, and how many have succumbed to the disease.
However, when you’re constantly checking the news and receiving an endless barrage of stories about all of the tragedy that is being wrought worldwide, it can become incredibly overwhelming and upsetting. So to help avoid these feelings of burden, consider limiting your consumption of Coronavirus news stories. You won’t miss out on anything important by stepping away from the news cycle every once in a while. Further, taking your eyes off of the screens that are so ubiquitous in our world will do your well-being good.
Prioritize Your Health and Well-Being
Speaking of wellness, one of the most important ways you can cope with anxiety is to take care of your body. After all, we are one, complete organism and our mental and physical well-being are interconnected in ways that cannot be untangled. Just like your anxiety can make you feel physically unwell, taking care of yourself physically can help improve your mood and lower your stress.
It’s easy during a pandemic to let healthy habits slip and allow our physical health to go neglected, but fighting this impulse will do you a world of good. Even actions as simple as getting up and showering every morning and eating a healthy breakfast can make a huge difference.
So to whatever extent you feel that you can, make an effort to commit to some if not all of the following healthy habits:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat healthy, balanced meals with lots of variety
- Get physical exercise on a regular basis
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
- Take deep breaths, meditate, and stretch
- See the doctor when you are feeling unwell
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you
You’ll be sure to find that once you start acting like a healthy person, you’ll start feeling like one, too, eventually lowering your stress levels.
Connect With Others in Your Community
One of the most challenging parts of this pandemic has been the isolation that it has put us all in. Human beings are social creatures and it is not natural for us to go months at a time without interacting with others. Being cut off from your support system can feel like a major blow, and feeling alone and isolated is a serious health problem, even to the extent that it is a risk factor for early mortality.
Of course, there is a reason why we’ve been suffering through isolation anyway. It’s one of the most effective steps we can all take to stop the spread of the pandemic. But social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to cut off all contact with others. Finding ways to maintain a sense of social connection and community that do not increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 is an important, even life-saving measure.
The good news is that we live in a time in which physical proximity is no longer a requirement for getting in touch with others. The internet is a tool that you can use to speak to and even see friends and family, attend virtual classes and gatherings, and reach out to mental health specialists and counseling services specifically aimed to help people get through the pandemic without feeling too isolated.
Whether you pick up the phone, send an e-mail, Facebook message, or Instagram DM, join a Zoom call or a webinar, or even send a good old-fashioned letter, making an active effort to reach out and connect with others is highly recommended.
Do What You Love
For many of us, our focus right now is on day-to-day survival. But such an approach can be tiring over time as we lose track of the things that make life fun and exciting. While you can’t necessarily take part in fun group activities at bars and restaurants, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy yourself and have a good time in order to unwind and receive a boost of endorphins.
So whether you choose to watch a funny movie or stand-up special, host a one-man dance party, cook yourself a delicious meal, do some rejuvenating yoga, or engage in one of your favorite hobbies that you never used to have enough time for, carving a bit of your day out to do activities that put a smile on your face and some lift into your heart is an important survival strategy.
Because the reality is that this pandemic didn’t turn out to be the temporary, short-term inconvenience many of us hoped it would become in the beginning. Although the vaccinations are finally here and hope for a return to our routines is on the horizon, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has become and continues to be our new normal, at least for the past year and now more. So developing the ability to find joy and laughter under these trying circumstances can help you to feel a sense of normalcy and potentially even find positivity in what has been an incredibly challenging year.
Reach Out For Help
In all fairness, these interventions can do quite a bit, but they can’t always make anxiety disappear, certainly not for everybody. The reality is that some problems require solutions more intensive than the ones we can achieve on our own from home. Sometimes, we need the help of professionals and dedicated services to address our mental health issues. And there is absolutely no shame in seeking out help of this kind – especially now when we are seeing more than ever just how critical mental health is.
If you feel like the help that you need goes beyond the suggestions listed above, we encourage you to look into our luxury recovery center focused on one-on-one treatment and personalized care. Located in Florida, Tikvah Lake offers the ultimate in personalization, comfort, and privacy. With only six beds in our center, our staff of experienced medical, physical, spiritual, and culinary professionals focuses entirely and uniquely on each guest’s specific needs.
To help facilitate healing and wellness, we offer an expansive, 15,000 square foot facility with a pool, spa, dock, and boat as well as a library, lounges, gourmet kitchen, private therapy spaces, recreational room, and generously sized bedrooms with en suites. And for those interested in taking advantage of the healing power of nature and movement, we are located adjacent to a State Park with miles of hiking trails.
If you are ready to start your healing and recovery journey, reach out today.