The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting global lockdown has had many unexpected consequences, including a negative influence on our mental health. The very mention of the crisis can trigger spiraling anxiety in some people. Watching the news or logging onto social media has suddenly become off-limits for even the most social, in-the-know women. And who can blame anyone for feeling the anguish that has gripped our world?
It’s important to be aware of our behavior and if mental health is entering into a dangerous place. We don’t have the power to control the situation, but we can manage our emotional response to what is happening. While this is not always easy, it is achievable with the right support and tools. The key is taking small daily steps to proactively manage our negative emotions. Here are a few things that I have found to help immensely.
Establish Coping Strategies
When life becomes overwhelming, our brains do not operate as usual. Brain chemicals and hormones can get out of whack and create surges of emotions not normally experienced. Feelings like anxiety, anger, and unhappiness are all prevalent during stress and overwhelm. That is why the danger of substance abuse, impulsive behaviour, harming self and others, and over or under eating are all especially high with the current circumstances.
It’s extremely important to acknowledge how the situation is making you feel and identify coping strategies. Some of my favorites are keeping a bullet journal, speaking out things I’m grateful for, and I have been known to use crystals, worry dolls, and physical activity to curb confusing and heightened emotions.
My favorite coping strategy is a good old-fashioned chat with a trusted friend when I’m feeling low. Simply knowing that someone cares and is there to support you can change negative thoughts and feelings fairly quickly. Do remember, however, if things are spiraling out of control, and your thoughts are betraying you, consider getting professional help. Some counselors, psychotherapists, and life coaches are available remotely now and can help you get back on track.
Limit Your Exposure
Although staying informed and getting vital information are important, it’s a good idea to limit your exposure to news and graphic media posts outside of that. The rolling, 24/7 nature of modern news coverage and the echo chamber of social media are spaces naturally inclined toward negativity. This bombardment can amplify feelings of panic and depression that many are struggling with. Set clear boundaries about what information you allow to come in. Remember that adverse emotions feed on the energy of panic and chaos, so don’t give it fuel.
Focus on Health and Wellbeing
One of the most beneficial things any of us can do right now is taking charge of your own health, mentally and physically. This means paying closer attention to the basics like diet, fitness, stress levels, sleep, and water consumption.
While we aren’t able to do all the things we are used to, we can still get daily exercise. When you exercise, your body releases hormones that promote happiness and balance. Just do what you can to move as regularly as possible. I have to push myself, too, right now even when I don’t feel like doing anything.
Don’t give in to the temptation to eat junk food all day. Instead aim for a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, healthy proteins, and quality fats. You know you have the time to try some delicious healthy recipes! Additionally, create a relaxing bedtime routine that sets you up for a restful night. Focusing on these simple rituals can be transformative, and help you cope with the present crisis.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors, and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.