Mental Health Over Everything
This past year hit HARD. No matter anyone's situation, there have been difficulties on every level. Children falling behind in learning, college students stressing about their future, parents working from home with kids, people who've lost loved ones. It's an infinite list.
I watched a Tedx Talks series, "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," with Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, and psychotherapist. Although she spoke in December 2015, everything Morin shared was so relatable, especially now. It's worth watching!
She spoke about the loss in her life, as many of us have lost loved ones. She followed with how she finally let herself grieve. I lost my grandmother to Covid-19 less than two months ago and find it hard to grieve. As a parent, I don't have enough time for much.
Everyone is encountering some anxiety. It could be worry over finances, parenting, loneliness, to fear of the future.
As we near the finish line of this 7B marathon (forget 5K), many of us are looking for that last bit of strength and sanity. How can we cope? How can we stay strong?
Never think that you are alone. Don't feel guilty about being anxious or depressed. Most people are right now.
Mental Health of America (MHA) reported, "The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. From January to September 2020, 315,220 people took the anxiety screen, a 93 percent increase over the 2019 total number of anxiety screens. 534,784 people took the depression screen, a 62 percent increase over the 2019 total number of depression screens."
There isn't anything the general public can do about Covid-19 except to be safe. Although, we can take some action towards our well-being.Being full of gratitude is always a good thing when we're already on a momentum. But, when we're depressed, someone telling us to be grateful is not the best move. "Others wish they had your troubles over theirs. You should be grateful." Cringe. That is one of the worst things to tell a person feeling low.
Or telling a parent, "I'm sure it's tough, but cherish this time with your children." That's true, in a sense, but really? Are we going there? Let's be honest. It is stressful times 1,000,000,000,000. Parents love their children, but they need a break, too.
Depression has many levels, from mild, severe to chronic. It can be triggered by trauma or nothing at all. Watching less news and keeping our phone use to a minimum is a good idea for now. We can easily overload our minds with unneeded stress. In other words, we can be realistic without bringing ourselves down.
For some, it's better to take baby steps to get back up. While others seem to be thriving during the pandemic, crushing it in their careers, some of us are not. Don't ever compare yourself. Start small. If you're ready to do more, then go for it.
For example, create a list like this:
- Wake up.
- Drink water.
- Open curtains.
- Look or go outside.
I thought that I'd finally get in shape, declutter and organize my home, and lengthen my short recipe list. Nope. I gained a few pounds, ate unhealthily, neglected household chores for days, and cooked the same meals as before. My stress levels touch the stars. Guess what? I'm fine with that, except for a few cystic pimples (acne). Painful.
Lately, I haven't been drinking enough water nor eating as many fruits and veggies. And sleep. Fughettaboutit. I even skipped my skincare regimen for a couple of weeks! Back to the basics: cleanse, exfoliate, toner, Rxescue Skin serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. Use my jade roller for two minutes. Done.
We all need to be heard or have an outlet. If you're in need of any professional help or just want to get some things off your chest, numerous resources are available to help us through these last few hurdles.
- Affirmations are awesome. We talk to ourselves all day long. So, it's not weird. Simple ones like: "Thank You." or "I am enough." are great starters. You can find more here.
- Talk with positive people only. This is not the time to talk to any pessimists.
- Faith-based books, such as The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale has helped many during difficult times.
- Pandemic Crisis Services Coalition is free and was created in March 2020 to help people cope mentally during the pandemic.
- Psych Hub has videos and mental health information.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is another helpful resource to guide anyone through tough times.
- In the Rooms is source for those who are recovering or have addictions.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is also a great place for anyone in recovery or with an addiction.
- Headspace gets so many props for their app. They stepped it up for those of us who need a break and a minute to breathe.
- Several online therapy treatments are available:
- Open Path Psychotherapy Collective
- Specifically for frontline workers in need of therapy, The Emotional PPE Project is free of cost.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is another place for frontline workers and individuals alike who need professional therapy.
- Mental Health America (MHA) has a wealth of information and can point you in the direction needed.
Taking care of ourselves may not be easy at the moment, but we have to do it. It's part of our survival, not a narcissistic act. Love yourself. Care for yourself.
We will be able to laugh with and hug our loved ones again. Our kids will go to school and make friends. We'll be able to enjoy a night out or Coachella. Single people will date in-person. It will happen soon. Hang in there.