The first year of COVID-19 has been a trying time in the US, and as we move into the next year of facing the same risks, people may struggle to keep their mental health in check.
So much has changed across the country and adapting to the new normal has taken a toll on socialization, financial stability, and our ability to thrive.
Though these times are unpleasant, it’s important to maintain your own well-being as much as possible until things return to some degree of normalcy.
Take a look at the following side effects that COVID-19 has had on mental health, as well as helpful, health-minded ways to improve the way you’re feeling.
Isolation and Stress
Having such a major change occur in your life can leave you feeling isolated and stressed, without having any idea how to make yourself feel better.
Some of the more common symptoms of stress include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling sad, angry, worried, frustrated, or empty
- Worsening physical health (especially concerning chronic conditions)
- Changes in appetite and energy
- Sleep interruptions
- Headaches, body pains, and/or stomach upsets
- Worsening mental health
The inability to go out and decompress in the same ways you were able to before COVID-19 can make the effects of stress feel never-ending.
On top of the stress you’re already battling with, not being able to personally reach out to friends and family can make it seem like you’re dealing with these problems alone.
To prevent stress and isolation from compounding into further complications, it’s crucial to develop a detailed self-care routine.
Maintaining Your Health
It’s easy to tell someone to drink plenty of water and think positive thoughts, but those solutions tend to feel very empty for someone dealing with stress and isolation.
Instead, you need to pay closer attention to several aspects of your health.
For example, if your physical health is feeling deteriorated, it becomes more difficult to keep positive thoughts in mind.
Address your physical needs and take the following steps to start feeling better physically:
- Eat healthy. Do your best to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
- Get moderate exercise. Even if you have to stay home, try participating in regular exercise.
- Limit screen time. Log off from your devices on occasion, and give yourself at least 30 minutes of screen-free time before bed.
- Try to lay down for bed early. Even if you’re struggling to sleep, try to lay down and prepare yourself for bed at the same time every night.
- Recharge. Take time to yourself. If you work from home, take time to relax, maybe meditate or perform a yoga routine to decompress.
Taking care of yourself physically can make it easier to assess and understand your mental health needs.
Mental Health Practices
Stress and isolation can take a toll on the way you’re feeling mentally. Because mental health is just as important as physical health, it’s necessary to implement mental health practices into your self-care routine.
- Follow a schedule. Keeping a schedule can make you feel more productive and organized.
- Keep yourself occupied. You don’t have to be working all day long, but it’s good to keep the mind busy, even if the body is resting.
- Take breaks when you need them. Working in the same space you live in can be overwhelming, so it’s critical to take breaks as often as you need.
- Limit news media content. While it’s good to stay up to speed with current events, try not to bombard yourself with constant negative/frightening news.
- Focus on areas of strength. If you’re spiritual, turn to your spirituality. If you’re an artist, turn to your art. Find things that inspire you and draw strength from them.
- Have a hobby. Everyone needs something that they enjoy doing, especially now. Find a hobby and use it to create positivity in your life.
Though it’s difficult to go out and meet up with friends and family, it’s important to prevent your feelings of isolation from growing.
Reach out to your friends and family in any way that you can.
You could email, text, interact through gaming, call each other on the phone, or even participate in video calls.
Take time to talk to others every so often so that you’re able to take care of your need for social interaction.
Additionally, your family and friends are likely experiencing the same issues, and they would probably enjoy catching up with you.
If you’d like to seek support for your partner’s mental health needs, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with their mental health, and we would be honored to help your partner, too.
Please feel free to reach out to us to set up a complimentary consult call so we can match you with the best therapist for your situation.