Mental health awareness is not a fleeting trend caused by the current pandemic.
The pandemic has made us come out of our comfort zones, with many of us facing challenges we didn’t have to before. This has resulted in heightened stress levels and emotions that are often overwhelming, forcing us to cope with the aftermath. For many of us, our mental health has deteriorated and is in need of care.
Learning to cope with stress, depression and anxiety while going through these challenging times, and the strains this has put on our mental health, is important. In this blog, we will try to raise mental health awareness and advise you on how to become more resilient.
The Coronavirus outbreak and learning how to take care of your mental health
Even though it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, stressed, worried and even depressed at times, you could say that the Coronavirus has somewhat caught us off guard.
The outbreak has made us reflect on our lives in more ways than one. Our fears have been amplified, there has been some panic, our imaginations may have going wild with every bit of information about the pandemic progression we come across, such as the numbers of people dead or affected by the disease. All of this has been accompanied by the total disruption of our day-to-day lives.
For some of us, isolation has given us a chance to reflect, improve ourselves in multiple areas of our lives and to grow. However, what has happened to the rest of us who started struggling with our own sense of identity? The ones whose ability to cope with their emotions has been drastically reduced? Those who had to face unemployment, the death of a loved one or homeschooling?
In these deeply trying times, it has never been more important to turn to our mental health and figure out ways to improve it and protect it.
Ways to manage your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak
Mental health awareness means we are aware of the strain the entire “new normal” situation has put on our daily lives and not staying idle any more, but rather doing something about it.
Here are some tips that have proven to be useful when managing your mental health.
# 1 Prioritize sleep
Yes, prioritizing sleep is crucial for human well-being, as simple as it sounds.
This especially refers to the individuals who fight depression and anxiety daily – creating a bedtime routine followed by a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to a podcast or music, is sometimes all you need to unwind before bed.
# 2 Managing stress by having a routine in place
This refers to any daily routine that works well for you. Having good routines in place in the morning and in the evening, at work and for eating can help you manage stress and cope better.
# 3 Seek support from your surroundings
During the outbreak, so many of us have faced (and still face) increased “alone” time, due to social distancing measures. Staying connected with your loved ones will help you feel less isolated. However, if this is not enough, you can always seek help in the shape of a support group, whether it’s in person or online.
# 4 Invite gratitude into your life
Even though it may seem clichéd or particularly challenging to try and feel grateful when the world seems to be on fire, finding ways to introduce gratitude and mindfulness into your life can help you to cope better. How? Once you start reflecting on the good things happening in your life, you can trigger the much-needed feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Learn how to raise mental health awareness and be of help to others
Educating others about mental health and removing any stigma is equally as important as taking care of your own mental health.
# 1 Educate yourself to give educated advice
Mental illness is not to be taken lightly, and no one is immune to it.
Often misunderstood and stigmatized, mental illness needs to be taken seriously to be treated sucessfully. What you can do as an individual, is to educate yourself first, and share what you have learned with others. One of the best ways to learn is to volunteer for mental health organizations that host different mental health awareness-oriented events and initiatives. This can ultimately lead to you promoting or even coordinating a mental health screening event, which can encourage people to be more proactive about their mental health.
# 2 Talk to others and let them know you are listening
There is not a single person around you that isn’t struggling in some way. By listening to them, and picking up on any indications they are unwell or suffering from depression or anxiety,you can lead them to the first step to recovery by directing them towards resources available to them, especially since most people don’t even know who to speak to.
#3 Share your story
If you have struggled, or are still struggling with some form of mental illness, we encourage you to open up about your experience. This often induces a major sense of relief in another person, knowing they are not alone in their experience and this may inspire them to seek treatment. Another thing you can do is to help people understand that physical health can very much impact our mental health. For example – by making sure that we are eating enough and sleeping well, we are already influencing our mental state in a positive way.
Take mental health seriously and equip yourself to help others.
The past year was hard and the end is not near.
Even though we try to listen and try to be of help – we struggle too, and that is fine.
We must always remember that the experience of the past year was not the same for everybody. Some had it worse. Some had it easier. Even though the vaccine brings hope, some of us will keep struggling for years to come, which will put an even bigger strain on our mental health.
Any of us can experience a problem connected to mental health, any of us can lose a loved one, a job, or experience a loss of identity or financial uncertainty. The least we can do is to be kind and empathic, and most importantly – aware of the needs of others as well as our own.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with any emotional or mental health issue, especially regarding depression induced by the outbreak, make sure to fill in our questionnaire, or get in touch with our depression specialists. We are here for you!
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