We’re already way past the 18-month mark into the pandemic. Some people have already adapted to the new normal, but others are still feeling their way in the dark, trying their best to get through this challenging season. People are still faced with uncertainties. Despite the massive vaccination programs taking place worldwide, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Although many work opportunities have since opened, many are still left with no source of income.
People deal with stress and anxiety differently. Some make the right choices and still become productive, while others, unfortunately, turn to things that are harmful to their bodies and minds. Alcohol and substance abuse remain significant concerns. You probably know someone who has struggled with some form of addiction during the pandemic and had themselves admitted to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center to prevent things from getting worse. If only people knew how to deal with stress more productively, we wouldn’t have loved ones fall prey to the evils of substance abuse.
If you find yourself still struggling and stressing during this season, here are a few things you can do to help neutralize the pandemic’s adverse effects on your mental health and, hopefully, help you get back on your feet.
Establish a routine
Routines were a huge part of our lives before the pandemic hit us, and it was one of the first things that COVID-19 disrupted. Establishing a routine gives you a sense of normalcy and greater control of how your day will go. When things tend to go crazy, it’s always nice to know you have control over a few things.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Perhaps you’ve been blessed to still have a job despite the present global crisis. Be thankful for that and be diligent. However, while we understand the need to hustle and make as much money as you can during this time, don’t forget to take care of all the other aspects of your life: your family, meaningful relationships, health, and interests. Work hard but don’t forget to enjoy life, too.
Take things slow
For those who choose to remain productive during this time, hats off to you. Some people prefer to keep themselves occupied with work and other meaningful pursuits but don’t be too caught up in them that life passes you by.
Take a breather. Step back for a moment and enjoy the sunshine and the gentle breeze on your face. Disconnect from work from time to time and spend some time doing what you want to do and not only what you need to accomplish. Perhaps it could be spending time with your loved ones either via video calls or smaller in-person meet-ups. Or you can take up or revisit a hobby, something that will give your mind a mental break from the demands of work. Also, you can work out and be healthier.
All we’re saying is, don’t be in such a rush all the time. Slow down a bit. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Make time for laughter
The statement “laughter is the best medicine” isn’t just made up to make you feel good. Years of research and study have given us concrete proof that laughter has plenty of health benefits.
It’s no joke. See what we did there?
Since the pandemic started, laughter has become such a precious and rare commodity that made this season a lot harder for people to deal with. While COVID-19 is no laughing matter, there will always be room for laughter. It not only makes you feel better and lifts your spirit, but it’s also contagious.
Try to recover that sense of humor. Watch your favorite funny flicks. Ask dads to tell them corny dad jokes. If you’re a dad, slug it out in a battle of wits with other dads. Read some funny books or comic strips. Play with kids. Find reasons to laugh (without being offensive to others, of course). There are plenty of things out there that can give you a good chuckle. You just need to look for it actively.
Be kind to yourself
Lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself. Nobody wanted this pandemic to happen; surely not you. So you shouldn’t blame yourself or beat yourself too hard for its effects. You’re only giving yourself an unnecessary burden to carry, which brings you down all the more. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to grieve, sure, but don’t stay in that bubble. You have a lot of other reasons to keep going. You just need to get up, brush off the dust, and move forward one step at a time. Allow yourself time to breathe or heal or cry but never stop dead in your tracks. You owe it to yourself to be compassionate and kind to you.
Stress is something everyone goes through. The difference between overcoming and succumbing to depression is the way stress is handled. Don’t just drown yourself in your sorrow, feel sorry for yourself, and do inexcusable things. Take control of your life and get back on track. Look your stressor dead in the eye and tell it that you will not be easily defeated. You can and will overcome the challenges by making the right decisions.