It’s no secret that we have all struggled with our mental health over the last year or so. Long after things go back to something approaching normal and most people are doing their best to move on, we will still be seeing the ripple effects of the pandemic in the mental health of people of all ages, from all works of life, all over the world. There have been so many different factors combining to wreak havoc on our mental wellbeing. The concern over employment. The isolation, or enforced non-isolation, of lockdown living. The lack of access to our support networks or the places we would usually go to step out of our heads and feel better. And that’s not even getting into the fact that we have all been living through a pandemic and we have been worried about catching a disease that could kill us, or that we could pass on to a friend, family member, or total stranger.
But if there is one good thing to come out of this, it’s that mental health is finally being discussed more openly as a real issue that affects everyone. There’s no stigma around saying that you’re having a hard time. No one’s going to think badly of you if you tell them that you have been struggling to get through the day. The fact that we are all aware of these issues and we are talking about them have not just given us the vocabulary to talk about our mental health, but it’s given us the ability to craft a toolkit for making those hard days a little easier. If you are having a hard time right now and you are looking for a few easy ways to help you keep moving forward, keep reading.
Get A Routine Going
Something that people have really struggled with during the pandemic has been that sense of the drift. When we’re not going outside, when we’re not seeing anyone, when we’re not working, time starts to lose its meaning. Even now as things are getting back to normal, it can be easy to lose track of what time it is, what day it is. When you feel that way, of course things are going to start to feel a little, well, endless.
A routine is important because it provides a clearly defined structure, no matter how simple. Start with getting out of bed at the same time every day. Create set mealtimes and break times. Set time aside for exercise (more on that in a moment) and have a set time of the day when you are done with work. It sounds so simple, but it does make a difference.
Get Outside (At Your Own Pace)
Those of us who struggle with anxiety have found ourselves in a slightly tricky situation at the moment. On the one hand, we can finally go back outside and see our friends and loved ones. On the other, we’ve spent more than a year indoors being told that we should do our level best to avoid contact with anyone. Now that restrictions have been lifted and more and more of us are getting vaccinated, going out and getting our lives back is finally an option. But post-lockdown anxiety, or re-opening anxiety, is real, and many of us are finding it hard to make the most of the summer.
First of all, it’s important to remember that there are very real mental health benefits to getting outside. Sunlight does have an impact on your mood (not to mention your physical health), and exercise is a very important part of a good mental health regimen. Keep your body moving and your mind will thank you. But if you are worried about being in social spaces people, remember that you don’t owe it to anyone to put yourself in a situation where you’re not comfortable. Take things at your own pace and be honest with the people you want to see that you might need a bit of time.
Think About Talking To A Professional
Over the years, it seems like we have all got a lot more welcoming to the idea of therapy. As recently as a decade or two ago, the perception was that it was something for people who had something seriously wrong with them. Now, we know that therapy is for anyone who is having a hard time. There’s no shame in seeking professional help with your mental health, no admission of defeat. What you are doing is being responsible, proactive, and positive. The hard part can be knowing where to start. Urgent medical enquiries should always be directed to your doctor, but if you are considering therapy but you’re not quite convinced that it’s for you, then it is worth looking at an online option to help you get to grips with it.
With an online therapy service like Emote, you will be matched to a therapist that’s right for you, and you can start developing a plan that works. You can choose between virtual therapy or text support, and you can find affordable therapy with Emote.
Don’t Keep Your Loved Ones In The Dark
We have already talked about how the pandemic has made it a lot easier for people to understand mental health issues, and to talk about them. When you’re having a hard time, it can be tempting to bottle it all up. We assume that people are too busy to hear about our problems, or that we’d be putting too much of a burden on them. We tell ourselves that what we’re going through isn’t really that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
These are the kind of thoughts that allow our problems to fester, to grow bigger and more ingrained. It is so important to remember that you are not alone as you go through this. There are people out there who care about you and to whom you mean a great deal. Think about picking one person that you think could open up to and giving them a call to tell them how you’re doing. You might be surprised by how many people you know have been going through the same thing, and you might be surprised how much sharing helps.