Article submitted to OnRichmondhill.com by Eleanor Silverberg, BA Psych, MSW, RSW, Founder, Jade Self Development Coaching & Dementia/Caregiving/Grief Specialist
Have you thought about how COVID has affected your mental wellbeing? It may be beneficial to give it some thought, to acknowledge the losses that come with COVID and assess how the losses have impacted, changing your behavior and lifestyle - consequently influencing your mental way of being. For instance, the effects of staying at home, although assisting in managing the pandemic, may be causing you to experience feelings of fear, nervousness, worry and panic.
It would be nearly impossible to not be affected at all living under these extreme conditions including the potential health risks. So, it is important to not only acknowledge the losses and assess the mental effects but to also assess the intensity of how you are being affected. No one could dispute that quality of life and activities of daily living have been altered by the situational losses. A certain amount of fear and nervousness may be considered "normal" in this "new normal". You can assist yourself though by acknowledging your reaction and assessing if it is beyond "normal". the extent that you are affected and the frequency of your reaction. Have you had an isolated case of feeling panic or are you feeling panic daily?
We have all been encouraged to not venture to go outside our homes and to physically distance from other people. Getting outside, though for a walk is encouraged, exercising as an adaptive means of coping. It is not "normal" when you experience a high level of panic just at the idea of stepping outside of your home. You can assist yourself by acknowledging and assessing the extent that this pandemic is affecting your wellbeing and if you are coping in an adaptive or maladaptive manner. Drinking excessive alcohol is an easy go-to for a temporary fix only.
Maintaining our mental wellbeing and coping through this pandemic is certainly challenging. It starts with the intention to maintain your mental wellbeing and then utilizing good adaptive coping behaviors. Assist by not resisting to attend to your mental health. Mental wellbeing especially during this pandemic works on a continuum that you can monitor daily. You may just have good days and bad days. Acknowledge, though when there is a loss of mental wellbeing and assess when you are being negatively impacted to the extent that you need further assistance. If you assess that you need assistance, consider this - Reaching out for assistance is a strength, not a weakness!