To say we are living in unprecedented and uncertain times would be an understatement. The coronavirus pandemic essentially put the world on “pause” for several months, and cases are still occurring around the globe with over 8 million, to date. It has impacted so many people, including 70% of the inmates in federal prisons who have tested positive for the virus.
In the U.S., the murder of George Floyd sparked more unrest, fueling not only the Black Lives Matter movement, but charging up protests across the country and around the world in the name of racial equality and justice. Some of those protests turned into riots and looting, with large cities in the country looking more like war zones.
During these times, self-care is more important than ever, especially when it comes to your mental health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), emotions like fear, worry, and stress are all normal during times of uncertainty. But, they can lead to problems like depression or anxiety. While the government spends almost $130 billion on mental health care facilities in the U.S., the help some people need simply isn’t accessible to them.
Maybe you’re a parent who is trying to take care of the mental health of your child or teen who has to grow up during these strange times. Maybe you know someone who passed from COVID-19. Maybe you’ve marched in a protest or you’ve been out of work for three months. Whatever the case, taking care of yourself above anything else is the best thing you can do to stay positive, healthy, and move forward.
Let’s cover a few strategies that you can use to make your own health a priority when it’s needed most.
Managing Anxiety On Your Own
If the current crises affecting our nation (and the world) have you feeling overwhelmed and anxious, one of the best things you can do is to make a commitment to take care of your mind and body. You might be feeling depressed or unmotivated, but now isn’t the time to stop your fitness routine. It’s not the time to turn toward junk food or other unhealthy habits. In fact, that can end up making things worse.
If you want to have a firm foundation for battling anxiety, stick to a healthy routine each day, including things like:
- Cooking meals at home
- Utilizing fresh, healthy, local ingredients
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Finding a work-life balance if you’re working from home
Mindfulness and meditation are also great ways to combat anxiety. By practicing mindfulness for just a few minutes each day, you can shift your focus to your breathing. You’ll allow thoughts to come and go freely without holding onto them. It can help you to refocus, feel more energized, and less anxious.
Natural supplements can also help with the symptoms of anxiety, including ingredients like lavender and chamomile. Using CBD oil has also been shown to reduce some forms of anxiety and can help with other mental health issues as well.
The Benefits of Crisis Counseling
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to feel like you have to go through everything alone. Even if you’ve been under stay-at-home orders with your family, you might feel as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
But no matter what you’re feeling, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. Part of self-care is taking care of yourself first so you can help out the ones you love later. You cannot pour from an empty cup. So don’t hesitate to get the help you need from someone else, so you can continue to help others in return.
In times like these, crisis counseling can make a big difference in how you feel. Crisis counselors are trained and educated to help people who are dealing with trauma. Their official “roles” undertake a variety of different duties, including:
- Providing aid and long-term support
- Helping you to understand the current state of the world and how to move forward
- Giving you the tools you need to process these times
- Providing grief counseling for those who may have lost someone/something
If you’re on the fence about crisis counseling, don’t let it turn you away from opening up to someone. Talk to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling, or join a support group. Keeping your feelings and emotions bottled up will increase your stress, and may make things worse later. Emotions aren’t meant to be ignored.
Staying Safe In and Out of the Home
Working from home was already becoming a popular option for many employees across the country. As of 2017, about 8 million people worked from home. The coronavirus pandemic has obviously caused that number to blow up. While unemployment has been a large problem for many across the country, others have found themselves working remotely.
Now that states are starting to reopen, some people will remain working from home, and it’s important to care for yourself even as you continue into this ‘new normal,’ both inside and outside of your home.
There are a few things you need to be successful in a remote position, including a home office or quiet place to work, and a reliable Internet connection.
While working from home has many benefits like flexibility, it’s also not always as easy as it may seem. It requires a lot of discipline and the ability to strike a healthy work-life balance. If you’re going to be working from home each day, keep the following tips in mind:
- Establish a daily routine
- Set concrete goals each day
- Set a stopping point for yourself
- Separate work time and your personal life
- Take breaks
- Use the tools and resources available to you
The work-life balance you create will help to keep you less stressed and will allow you to start moving forward as life starts to get back on track, even if no one is quite sure what that might look like yet.
By taking care of yourself during these unprecedented times, you can keep your mental health stable and do your part to care for others, all at once. So, while it’s easy to ignore self-care when things feel like they are spiraling out of control, understand that you deserve better, and make a commitment to your own health and wellbeing.
Image Credit: Unsplash