The Coronavirus pandemic has made America’s mental health crisis worse than it has been in an extremely long time. People all over the globe have been forced to isolate themselves from the people or places that were once so easily accessible. People across the U.S. have lost their homes. Some were left with no choice but to close their small businesses. This year claimed homes, livelihoods, and sanities across the country. Although this isolation is for the greater good, it comes at a huge cost.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in June 2020, U.S. adults had considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions which they attributed to COVID-19. There were also increases in substance use, suicidal ideation, and an overall worsening mental health outlook for younger adults, minorities, and essential workers. Prescription medications for anxiety rose 34% between February and March, and this was only the beginning of the state-mandated lockdowns. By June 2020, a whopping 40.9% of young adults in the U.S. reported that they were experiencing at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition.
As 2020 ends, we are still in the middle of the same global pandemic. Many states are going back into lockdown, closing doors once again for businesses, and limiting or banning contact with others outside of one’s household. There’s no denying that the pandemic is not in our control. However, there are things that we can do to help control the mental health effects it has on us. Here are some ideas to help you help yourself and those around you who may be feeling negative side effects from the ongoing pandemic:
Give Yourself A Break
Headlines that shout the devastating effects of COVID-19 on people across the world are literally gathered at our fingertips. When scrolling through social media, either you’re seeing your friends post about COVID, or your feed is being interrupted by sponsored ads containing information about COVID. When reading or watching the news, you are almost guaranteed to see numerous stories regarding COVID. It’s everywhere.
Enough is enough. Limit your information. Obeying the urge to check headlines constantly is likely to put you in a heightened state of stress and anxiety. Instead, set boundaries for yourself when it comes to interacting with headlines that cause you distress. If you’re worried about missing something serious, ask someone you trust to let you know when something happens that you need to know. Otherwise, give your mind and emotions a much-needed break.
Be Mindful in the Moment
The importance of mindfulness is a frequent topic in the recovery community. During the ongoing pandemic, mindfulness has become even more important. With the added stress and decreased access to support, it can be easy for you to spiral, focusing on everything that you do not have control over. Instead, focus that energy on an activity that allows you to fully immerse in the here and now.
Activities such as meditation and yoga are both great options and are also things that you can do pretty much anywhere. With the mandated lockdowns continuing to take place, it is important to keep in mind which activities you have access to. Other great options for practicing mindfulness can include a simple walk around the block, gardening, or cooking a delicious meal.
Move Your Body
Depending on where you live, access to gyms, parks, and beaches can be limited or unavailable. Don’t let that stop you from moving your body! Exercise is not only great for you physically, but is equally beneficial for your mind. When you move your body, you release endorphins that can help control and limit cortisol, the stress hormone. Do not forget to move your body. You can always exercise in your backyard or your living room. The key is to incorporate some kind of movement each day.
Reach Out When You Need
Many Americans are being asked to stay home or to avoid routine care due to the pandemic. Routine care should not be ignored when you are feeling overwhelmed by the state of your mental health. Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, reach out for professional medical help. Hospitals have implemented protocols to help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. If you’re uncomfortable leaving your home because of the pandemic, many services are now available via telemedicine, and many medications can even be delivered directly to your home.
We are all struggling to figure out how to maneuver effectively and safely throughout this pandemic. You are not alone, and you will continue to persevere.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our lives. It’s as if every day brings on a new hardship that we are forced to manage. You are not alone during this pandemic. Although the American people are being asked to stay home or limit contact as much as possible, there are still ways to keep your mental health in check. Exercising, setting boundaries, and reaching out are just a few important strategies that can help to keep you stable. If you or someone you know are experiencing a mental health emergency, reach out for safe and effective ways to receive the treatment you need. No one needs to push through this pandemic alone or feel like they can’t ask for help. Everlast Recovery Center is there to help you focus on what you do have control over and to remind you that we’re all in this together. Call us at 866-DETOX-25.