Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it's something that we should all be taking care of during the pandemic. Mental health can be affected by a number of things, including stress, anxiety, and fear.
The recent and concluding COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our mental health. For many of us, this is a time of stress and anxiety. We may be worried about our own health or the health of our loved ones. We may be grieving the loss of normalcy in our lives or the loss of loved ones who have passed
In this blog post, we will discuss some common psychological reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and some tips for improving your mental health post-pandemic.
COVID 19 and Your Mental Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health. Many people are experiencing psychological reactions such as anxiety, fear, and depression.
The stress brought by the pandemic can be overwhelming and can lead to problems such as increased alcohol and drug use, problems with sleep, and difficulty concentrating. More likely, life has changed for many of us. We may have altered daily routines and financial pressure or social isolation at times but there is always hope for what's next.
Surveys show a major increase in the number of U.S. adults who report symptoms of:
- depression, and
Compared with surveys before the pandemic, most people have increased their use of alcohol or drugs, thinking that can help them cope with their fears about the pandemic. In reality, using these substances can worsen anxiety and depression.
Let's take a look at Psychological reactions to COVID19.
Psychological Reactions Toward the COVID-19 Pandemic
For most people, the rise of the pandemic has closed more doors than opened new ones. It has been a time of great uncertainty and for many, great fear.
As the pandemic continues, it's important to be aware of how you're feeling and to take steps to care for your mental health. If you're feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a mental health professional.
There are a number of resources available to help you cope with the stress of the pandemic. The CDC offers a list of Mental Health Resources.
The WHO also offers a list of Mental Health Apps, which can be helpful for coping with the stress of the pandemic. Some of these apps include:
- Headspace: A meditation and mindfulness app that offers 10 free minutes of meditation per day
- Calm.com: An app that offers guided meditations and a variety of programs to help you relax
- Mental Health America: An app that offers a variety of resources for mental health including articles, blogs, and Mental Health First Aid certification
Now, let's talk about some of the common psychological reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People may experience increased anxiety or worry about their health or the health of their loved ones. They may be afraid of contracting the virus or may feel overwhelmed by the constant news coverage.
Symptoms of anxiety can include:
- difficulty concentrating
- muscle tension
People may experience increased depression during the pandemic. They may feel isolated from friends and family or maybe grieving the loss of loved ones.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- loss of interest in activities
- difficulty concentrating
- changes in appetite
People may have difficulty sleeping during the pandemic. They may be worried about their health or the health of their loved ones. They may also be experiencing changes in their daily routine which can disrupt sleep patterns.
Symptoms of insomnia can include:
- difficulty falling asleep
- waking up frequently during the night
- waking up early in the morning
- feeling tired during the day
Some people may experience suicidal thoughts during the pandemic. If you are having these thoughts, it's important to seek help from a mental health professional or hotline immediately.
People who have experienced Covid19 often experience suicidal thoughts. This may be due to the stress of the pandemic or to other factors such as the loss of a loved one.
If you are experiencing these thoughts, it's important to seek help from a mental health professional or hotline immediately. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
For more information on suicide prevention, you can also visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Tips to Improve Your Mental Health During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an emotional toll on people’s mental health. From frontline workers who are overwhelmed with work, to young adults unable to get education due to the lack of power distribution —everyone is feeling some form or another from this current crisis in our society.
Truly, COVID19 has taken its toll on people's mental health. Today, let's go over some tips that can help improve your mental health during the pandemic.
1. Seek Professional Help.
If you feel like you need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate in seeking professional help. Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be taken care of accordingly.
There are many great resources available online and offline for mental health support including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Mental Health America (MHA), and more.
If you are feeling suicidal or in danger of harming yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8225).
2. Maintain a Routine.
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to maintain a routine. This can look different for everyone, but try to stick to a schedule as much as possible.
Wake up at the same time every day, eat meals at regular intervals, and get enough sleep. If you can exercise regularly, that’s great. But even just going for a walk around the block can make a big difference.
Routines help to ground us and give us a sense of control in chaotic times.
3. Stay Connected with Friends and Family.
Another important way to take care of your mental health is to stay connected with your friends and family. Whether that’s through text, social media, video chat, or good old-fashioned phone calls—reaching out to the people you love can help reduce stress and anxiety.
It can be easy to isolate yourself when you’re feeling down, but social connection is an important part of mental health. So please reach out to your loved ones and let them know you’re thinking of them.
4. Try to Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. When you’re stressed, your body needs more rest to recover.
Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. If you can’t fall asleep, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
And if you’re having trouble sleeping, please reach out to a doctor or mental health professional.
5. Exercise Regularly
Keep an active lifestyle. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining your mental health. You don’t have to go to the gym — a brisk walk around the block will do wonders for your Mental Health.
6. Eat Healthy and Balanced Meals.
Nutrition is optimal. Eating a healthy diet can help reduce stress and promote overall physical health. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. And try to limit sugary, fatty, and processed foods as much as possible.
7. Take Breaks When Necessary.
Breaks — you deserve it. Remember to know when to pause and when to take a break. Respond to your body and mind accordingly.
It’s okay to take a break from work, school, or whatever it is you’re doing. Step away from the screen and take some time for yourself. Maybe read a book, listen to music, or take a nap. We all need breaks — so make sure to give yourself some time to relax and recharge.
8. Practice Self-Care.
Self-care is just important as anything else on this list. Make sure to do things that make you happy and help you relax. This looks different for everyone, but some ideas include taking a bath, writing in a journal, listening to music, or spending time outside.
Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself — your mental health will thank you for it.
Seek Help Today
Mental health is an important aspect of our lives, and it’s especially important to focus on during difficult times like the pandemic. According to Mental Health America, May is Mental Health Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and promoting initiatives that help people get the care they need.
It’s more important than ever to reach out for help if you’re struggling with your mental health. Mental health problems can worsen during times of crisis, so don’t hesitate to get the help you need.
If you need a virtual consultation about your mental health today, feel free to reach out to me for a telehealth consultation.