Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

Hi, ShoutOut! readers! This is a co-authored post written by naturegorl311 and noturmanicpixiedreamgirl. Thanks for reading!

It’s no secret that the last nine months have been difficult for many of us. Even after the lockdowns were lifted, people were expected to wear masks, social distance, and avoid contact with people outside of their household when possible. Even for those who decided they were above the rules and have continued with their social lives as if life were normal, a global crisis is bound to come with a side of anxiety. Many college classes have moved online, along with extracurricular meetings and events. While it’s necessary, this has only further isolated those of us who are doing what we can to keep ourselves and others safe by sacrificing social gatherings in lieu of public health.

“Everyone’s sad and anxious. We know. What’s your point?” That’s probably what you’re thinking, right? Wellllll, our point is that maybe we don’t have to be so doom and gloom. We have some ideas for things you can do to show your mental health some TLC during these COVID-y times. We believe in you, and we’re all in this together, so try what interests you and leave the rest!

Breathing exercises

Hello readers, this is naturegorl311, and if you take anything from this post, I want you to remember how easy and simple breathing exercises are. Although breathing exercises are uncomplicated, they have many benefits that can help ease your mind and relax your body. Taking part in these exercises can help you to manage stress. You can think of these exercises as almost tricking your body and mind by making it feel like it does when you are in a relaxed state (when you really feel like ripping your hair out). Simply slowing your breathing can help you to feel less stressed. For beginners I would recommend checking out this breathing exercise. If you’re looking for a longer breathing session, try this awesome yogi’s video.

Get outdoors!

There is truly nothing better than a breath of fresh air. Although it may be getting cold where you live, it is still so important to spend some time outside. Sunlight seems to be a large factor in what makes going outside so important. Like almost every living thing on Earth, humans need light, and natural light seems to have the best benefits. According to an article written in Harvard Health Publishing titled “Spending Time Outdoors is Good for You,” the author writes, “Sunlight hitting the skin begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps fight certain conditions, from osteoporosis and cancer to depression and heart attacks.” So, if you start feeling blue, try to go catch some sun rays!

Hi! This is noturmanicpixiedreamgirl, and the mental healthcare methods I’m going to be sharing are therapy, physical activity, distraction methods, and planning!

Therapy

I know therapy isn’t always an option readily available to everyone, but if you’re able to access it, I would highly recommend. Most of the people in my life who have willingly started therapy on their own have found it to be beneficial, and 2020 is the first year I’ve gotten serious about wanting to find a therapist of my own. These are some of the resources I’ve used to look into various options:

https://www.healthline.com/health/therapy-for-every-budget

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201501/your-guide-psychotherapy-options

https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html

Physical activity

I’m by no means a fitness guru, but I know that during the phases I manage to get into a routine of moving around for at least 30 minutes each day, I feel better about myself and life in general. We all know that exercise releases endorphins and that endorphins make you feel good; it’s tried and true, so you might as well use science to your advantage!

Distraction methods

I love a good distraction method. My use of streaming services verges on addiction, and I’m a frequent participant of that fun activity where you just switch back and forth between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. for like an hour straight waiting for something new to magically appear. Books are good too! Sometimes you just need to focus on something other than reality for a while.

Loosely plan your day

I’m a big fan of making to-do lists for each day. I rarely accomplish everything on the list, and in fact sometimes I don’t accomplish anything at all, but it helps me to set intentions for each day. I found this practice to be especially helpful during the beginning of this whole COVID-19 situation when we were in lockdown. Try writing down even mundane tasks just so you’ll have some things to cross off—it’s satisfying!

During this time of year, it is common to experience more anxiety and depression than usual, but we can all agree mental health seems to be even harder to handle during COVID. Let’s look at the big picture here: we still can’t seem to get this virus under control in the United States, even nine months after its big debut. We must do our part as individuals—social distance, wear your mask, and remember:

Related blog posts:

Media and Mental Health: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2020/04/17/media-and-mental-health/

An Illustration of Mental Illness: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2016/04/05/an-illustration-of-mental-illness/
Therapy…Let’s Talk About It: https://shoutoutjmu.com/2020/10/26/therapy-lets-talk-about-it/

11 thoughts on “Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

  1. Those tips were spot on! I find that when I go outside, workout, or plan my day I am also always happier and in a better mood. While it’s important to remember that we are in a pandemic and take it easy on ourselves, online school doesn’t always make that possible. Thanks for the help!

    Liked by 1 person

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