How to Manage Your Mental Health During Covid-19

Today we’re going to look at how to manage your mental health considering the severe burden of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Americans (link to other blog). We will provide you with multiple elements to incorporate into different areas of your life, which can help you create a simple, personalized mental health plan. This will help ensure that your mental health is a top priority during this difficult time.

Taking care of our mental health is something we know to be important but tend to let fall on the wayside. The general stressors of day-to-day life make it difficult to even grasp the idea of prioritizing our mental health.

In addition to major life events that inevitably occur over any given period, throw in a Pandemic like Covid-19, and the idea of mental health in general can be overwhelming.

A major public health crisis can make us even less likely to tend to our mental health when we need it the most. In order to help alleviate some of the overwhelmed, we’re going to look at concrete ways to take care of our mental health in the face of the ongoing Pandemic.

Components of Mental Health

Mindfulness and self-care have become buzz words over the last decade, and since the start of the Pandemic, you’re probably sick of seeing them around the internet and on magazine covers. It is a far-reaching misconception that practicing mindfulness means meditating and self-care means taking a bubble bath.

“It is a far-reaching misconception that wellness means meditating and self-care means taking a bubble bath.”

“Mindfulness” and “self-care” are terms that make discussing mental health more palatable. While practicing mindfulness and taking baths are great things to incorporate into your life in order to tend to your overall health and lifestyle, they are merely actions to incorporate into your mental health care plan.

We are going to divide your health into six digestible components:

  1. Emotional- the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times.
  2. Physical- refers to the state of your physical body and how well it’s operating.
  3. Mental (link to other blog)- In layman’s terms, mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, act, make choices, and connect to other people.
  4. Social- Social health can be defined as our ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others. It also relates to how we can adapt in social situations.
  5. Spiritual- Being connected to something greater than yourself, around which one’s values, principles, morals and beliefs center. This is often where people derive their sense of purpose and meaning of life.
  6. Professional- Having a healthy work/life balance, feeling safe within the context of your job/career, and separating your professional life from your home life.

First, let’s pinpoint the current mental health issues you are facing. Are you feeling anxious more than usual? Are your low moods lingering now where they weren’t pre-pandemic?

Next, let’s look at your mental health history. Have you struggled with any mental issues in the past? If so, how did you handle them, and was it effective?

Asking yourself these types of questions can help you get a better idea of your health in general, as well as pinpoint which areas could use more attention.

Mental Health During Covid-19: Into Action

This is where we step into action. Below are several things you can do to ensure you are tending to each of the 6 aspects of your health during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Every person is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. You can always mix it up and try something new!

  1. Emotional: Allow yourself to experience your emotions without giving into the urge to “do something” to change how you feel.

    • Recognizing your emotions
    • Overcoming the barriers to healthy emotions
    • Increasing your positive emotions
    • Doing the opposite of your emotional urges
  2. Physical: Physical health impacts all other areas of health in different ways. Again, everyone is different, and going to the gym isn’t your only option.

    • Maintain “gut health” by taking probiotics, prebiotics and eating clean (this impacts the body’s equilibrium)
    • Create and maintain sleep hygiene
    • Move your body
    • Spend time in the sunlight and/or nature
  3. Mental: Your mental health is more important now than ever. Slow down and pay attention to what you need and want, as well as what you don’t.

    • Find a therapist
    • Practice self-care (i.e. pamper yourself, read a book, indulge in a comfort food, watch a movie, go on a hike, take time for yourself)
    • Set aside alone time each day, check in with yourself and tend to your needs
    • Reach out to your local mental health center
  4. Social: Covid-19 has changed the social lives of all Americans. Instead of looking at your social life as “ruined”, look at this as an opportunity to get creative with your relationships.

    • Create and maintain healthy relationships
    • Clear your life of toxic people
    • Keep in touch with your family and friends
    • Hang out with others “virtually”
  5. Spiritual: You may have become aware of the fact that attending your place of worship/being a part of a congregation played a big part in your life, and/or that your relationship with a higher power is personal and not dependent on those things.

    • Spend time in your holy text (Bible, Torah, Quran etc.)
    • Worship however you used to at home
    • Attend your place of worship virtually if possible
    • Keep in contact with those in your congregation
  6. Professional: Big changes occurred in the workplace since the start of Covid-19, and most people aren’t used to them yet. Whether you are working remote, in the office, staying remote, or unsure:

    • Maintain clear communication with your superiors
    • Connect with your coworkers
    • Set up a special workspace
    • Become aware of any financial assistance you may qualify for

NOTE: These activities and suggestions are a guide, and I am not a medical professional.

Resources:

If you are in crisis, get immediate help:

Written by 

Chanel attended school for Journalism with a focus on fashion and music. She has been writing creatively and blogging since 2013 and has been published in LOLO Magazine and the Brookhaven Courier.