How Do I Keep Mentally Well During a Pandemic?
As someone who has struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember, it’s hard for me to picture a life without the presence of depression or anxiety. This is where I might typically lose some readers who think they can’t relate. I'd feel confident wagering a bet that the last year has rocked even the most stable mentality. You may actually ask yourself, "How do keep mentally well during a pandemic?"
If you’re new to this and you're experiencing a level of loneliness and self doubt you’ve never felt before, I promise you, you are not alone. It’s not just you. Nobody is feeling like their best selves right now.
Friendships have become distant. Messages seem brief and replies late. Video calls are less and less appealing. Group chats aren’t going off like they used to. It’s taken a lot for me to realize I’m not the only one, even though it definitely feels that way most of the time.
I’m in my own “new mama” isolation bubble. Sometimes, I get caught up assuming that everyone else is going on with their normal lives, chatting, grabbing coffees, hanging out and other stuff that we used to do back in, you know, 2019? But that’s not the case at all.
I know I’m not the only one feeling super bored, lonely and checking my phone every few minutes to see if anything’s changed, if anyone’s texted or emailed. Yes, I check my emails to see if I can find a serotonin boost there. But nope. Maybe I left my phone on airplane mode? Nope. Do not disturb? Nope. Ok, just checking. Just me? Nope. It’s all of us. You feel it right?
We need a change of scenery, a little stimulus of any sort would do. I just want to have something, anything, to say when someone asks me how I am or what’s new. We’re tired of the ‘I miss yous’ and the daydreams of what we’ll do when this is behind us. I daydream a lot. I picture gatherings with friends, beach hangs, road trips, and vacations. I see my daughter playing with other kids. I feel the glorious combo of sunshine and smiles and it truly fills my heart, even for a moment. Then, I realize the more I lean into the future and how great things will be I’m missing out on the present and how good things can be now.
It's so easy to get stuck in a rut when we’re at home more and not feeling ourselves.
Addictions are on the rise. I don’t just speak of addiction in terms of drugs and alcohol. Although I’m sure, for those that do partake, happy hours may have come earlier or more frequently over the past year. An addiction can be any ongoing habits or patterns that cause harm or negative results.
Rest is absolutely crucial at a time when the global vibrational frequency is so high. I say sleep in if you wanna sleep in or have a lazy couch day if that’s what you’re craving. Just know how important it is to have balance and discipline. (That last sentence was definitely a whisper in my own ear.) This morning I put on a show while I was sipping my coffee. Next thing I knew the third episode was starting and I had no idea where the time had gone. Streaming sites make it really easy to binge watch your favourite shows and bingeing makes it easy to check out of our less than ideal current reality. There is so much artificial stimulation literally in the palm of our hands. Again, just before I started writing this I easily wasted an hour watching Instagram Reels.
The choices you make create your reality. What you focus on is totally up to you. You can be consumed by the negativity of the world or you can choose the habits and rituals that lift you up.
I've heard the universe will keep throwing obstacles in your way till you learn your lesson. So, as it’s been said, things aren’t happening to you, they’re happening for you. Don’t be the victim of your circumstances. (Again, I can always afford to take my own advice.) There have been plenty of times when I’ve felt sorry for myself and sometimes rightfully so. Take the time you need and when you’re ready, pick yourself up. Even the roughest roads can have beautiful views, joyous moments, and amazing memories.
Choose you, choose your health, choose your happiness.
Commit to actually letting go of the shit that doesn’t serve you.
Get observant, notice everything around you.
See the little things that make you smile.
Soak up inspiration; in nature, relationships, connections, experiences, mistakes and lessons. Go for walks, even just around your neighborhood.
Listen to podcasts or audiobooks and soak up the words and wisdom of others.
Take up a hobby that keeps your hands busy. I recently started painting again. I find it extremely meditative and it stops me from grabbing for my phone.
And, dedicate time to write because writing will be like your own personal counselling sessions with you and yourself. As you get the words out on paper you can declutter, organize and make better sense of them.
Just remember: although you can’t control the state of the world, you can control how you react to it and do the conscious work to make yourself feel better in the meantime.