You wouldn’t need a crystal ball to have predicted the toll COVID-19 would take on mental health. Fear, illness, job loss, isolation, and loss of others have contributed to a staggering increase in anxiety and depression. Sadly, self-harm, suicide domestic abuse, and addiction all surged last year.
It’s important to keep your mind healthy while we ride this pandemic out.
Social media may exacerbate problems.
Facebook plays a large part in many of our lives. It helps us keep in touch with friends and family, reminds us of birthdays, and helps pass the time while we’re cooped up at home. So why is it causing many of us to feel so anxious and stressed? Your news feed is likely the culprit. We find ourselves scrolling and being upset by political content, COVID-19, and all of the stressors in our personal lives. It’s common to feel a range of emotions from anger to jealousy. Additionally, we’re experiencing constant stimuli rather than spending that time unwinding and relaxing.
Research tells us that limiting our time on social media to less than 30 minutes each day can greatly improve our mood. Better yet, a month-long social media cleanse can improve your quality of sleep and help you feel more joy. If that sounds difficult, you may be interested to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix and reconsider if all of that phone time is really benefitting your mental health.
Reach out and stay connected.
We may still be distanced from many of our loved ones but that doesn’t mean you can’t check in. Call you loved ones often. It can help you both feel less isolated and more optimistic.
If you’ve got a lot going on right now but don’t feel like talking to family and friends about it, consider trying a professional counselor. They can help boost confidence, develop healthy coping skills, and improve your outlook on life. Many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones, our social lives, and a sense of normalcy. If you aren’t sure if you need to see a counselor, they can help you decide if it could be beneficial.
Take care of yourself.
Whether you’re dealing with illness, fear of illness, concern for your loved ones, or simply feeling overwhelmed about how bad things have been, your wellbeing is important. Be sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, exercising and eating well.
Almost a quarter of young adults reported using alcohol or drugs to cope with pandemic-related stress. However, these substances tend to have adverse implications on your mental health. With addiction on the rise, it’s best to find other ways to deal with stress. Instead, try meditating, a gratitude journal, a hobby, reading a book, or doing something else that brings you joy.
We wish you all a healthy and happy 2021!