It’s been at least 18 months. That’s a year and a half of conflict, confusion, and contradictions. A global health crisis quickly morphed into an endurance test. Like a twisted reality show, we have been asked to navigate hardships we were not prepared for. Fears for our safety, political division, civil unrest, and economic disaster are just some of the factors.
While the vast majority of you will remain unscathed in terms of COVID-19, there is another epidemic to consider. Our collective mental health is under assault from all sides. It’s safe to say the psychological fallout will be the most significant legacy of this pandemic.
The Direct Connection Between COVID-19 and Mental Health
It all began with an overwhelming fear of getting infected and sick. Such chronic fear can get you stuck in fight-or-flight mode, which is essentially anxiety. You may have developed an anxiety disorder or exacerbated an existing anxiety disorder. On top of that, you may experience grief from losing a loved one. Either way, the mental health of many has suffered.
These are the fundamental ways the novel coronavirus has damaged our mental well-being, but there are a few other possible impacts to consider.
3 Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic has Impacted Mental Health
1. Financial Stress
Some folks lost their jobs. Others lost their businesses. The widespread economic fallout is not unlike a bad recession. For many, there is still no relief. You start to feel the mental strain for many reasons, for example:
- A sense of powerlessness
- The stigma of struggling with money
- Uncertainty about the future
We were told to practice social distancing but it was never that simple. For many people, withdrawing from daily interactions is taking a toll on their emotional health, e.g.
- People feel lonely
- Feeling hopeless as time passes
- Self-medicating through eating, drugs, alcohol, etc.
- Over-dependence on the internet and your devices for social interactions
- Increased likelihood of depression and/or anxiety
- Increased likelihood of suicidal thoughts
3. Dramatic Changes in Your Routine
Let’s say you normally drove to work in an office every day. Suddenly, you were stuck in your kitchen in front of a laptop. Your spouse is doing the same in the living room while your kids attempt to do schoolwork virtually. Such disruptions in rhythm and routine have been found to have negative effects on your mental health. Not to mention, they contribute to new stressors, and family discord increases.
Some Mental Mitigation Tactics
You’ll need to take care of the basics. Make healthy eating choices. Maintain regular sleep patterns. Engage in daily physical activity. Cultivate some relaxation techniques. Make all of these a non-negotiable part of your daily life.
Step away from your devices. News headlines and social media posts will not enhance your mental well-being. Power down your phone and use that time to do something IRL like cooking a meal, taking a walk, or stretching.
Stay as Connected as You Can
If face-to-face interactions are still limited, find ways to stay virtually connected. Good, old-fashioned phone calls can go a long way in returning some sense of normalcy to your life.
You May Need a Different Kind of Support
Friends and family can help but it’s quite possible that you’d be best served by talking to a professional. Whether it’s in-person or over video chat, therapy is an ideal choice in times like these. You’ll look forward to having a safe space each week to brainstorm and explore.
Let’s connect to talk about the possibilities.