COVID-19 and Mental Health
“Thanks to COVID-19, I’ve Had a Lot of Time With Myself. It Hasn’t Been Easy.”
As millions of individuals around the world are dealing with the impact of COVID-19, one of the things that is being affected the most is our mental health. At the beginning of the lockdown, maybe, we didn’t feel it so much. But after sitting in quarantine for over 45 days, we certainly do. The lockdowns affected our families and our health, our jobs, and finances. Some of us lost some people and are dealing with grief. All this puts us more at risk for depression and anxiety. The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how we feel, think, and act. It results in a loss of interests, appetite, motivation, and it can negatively affect our sleep.
Before the pandemic, the majority of us never spent so much time at home, and we all had our own routines. However, when the lockdown began, little did we know how long it would last. We turned from planning for tomorrow and the weekends ahead to days of staying at home, filled with uncertainty, and our minds flooded with painful news in the media. Our sleeping routines have been affected too. Why I bring this is up is that some of our patients who had regular sleeping routines are now staying up later, waking up later, or vice versa. Have you been dealing with something like this yourself? Did you know that poor sleep can cause depression? A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry showed that people with disrupted circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle) developed mood disorders. And without good exercise and stimulation, our ADHD and ADD become worse.
So, if you haven’t been feeling like yourself, I want you to know that you’re not the only one. As we all wait for things to get back to normal, what can help us in times like these is to try our best to find peace in our current situation. If and when you find that this is hard to do, you can reach out to us for anxiety or depression treatment.
Most importantly, there are things that we can do to help uplift the mood and reduce anxiety and depression.
Let’s talk about that now.
Teletherapy Via Online Sessions
If you want to start feeling less anxious and stop thinking so much before you go to sleep, or while you’re working, I highly recommend trying teletherapy, also known as online counseling or online therapy. As a professional and as an individual, I know that talking can really help. A lot of us have so much that we hold in. And so many of us try to handle everything by ourselves. Some of us don’t have that many people with whom we can talk. And even when we have friends and family to talk to, we can’t tell them everything. One of the best things about therapy is that you can talk about anything you need, without being judged, without worrying about consequences, and in total privacy. Talking to a therapist is completely confidential.
There are many other great things about therapy and counseling. The therapist you are speaking to is a professional who will help you to know what is going on with you. You will get expert advice and guidance, you will be learning about yourself and what may be contributing to your problems. You can get professional depression treatment. Moreover, there is family therapy and family counseling, child therapy, and couples therapy that can also be done through teletherapy.
With COVID-19, teletherapy became the only way that our therapists offer therapy and counseling at this time of public emergency. This is so that you can continue to follow the regulations about staying at home and remaining safe and keeping others safe. Did you know that the regulations also require insurance companies to cover your share of the cost for telehealth during this coronavirus public emergency? This is more to encourage you to continue to stay at home and at the same time to take care of your mental health.
You don’t need to always try to fix yourself alone. And you will never know if it works unless you give it a chance.
Self-Care and Finding Pleasure in Not Being Productive
Quarantine has affected us all differently, and I want everyone to know that if you feel tired and would rather do nothing, this may be a sign that you need a break. Part of our mind says we don’t need a break, since we are at home anyway. Yet, the truth is, we are still working and carrying on with responsibilities. We have not been going out or taking vacations or doing things to de-stress. Make it your decision to take a day or a few days off, just to rest and refresh. This will benefit your body and your mind.
I say this is because we are going through a very stressful time, and some of the stress is unconscious, meaning we don’t know we have it. Therefore, if you feel that you would rather not be productive, want to lie in bed, order pizza, and binge on Netflix, go ahead. You probably need it, and it is ok for a few days.
As we are dealing with a lot right now, we respond and cope differently from each other. So, no need to compare yourself to others. Respect your needs and take care of yourself. When we neglect our needs, it takes a toll on our mental health. We become less, for ourselves, for our families, for our friends, for our jobs and our work.
Here Are Some Self-Care Tips From Our Therapists:
-Take some time in your day to meditate or listen to relaxing music;
-Take 5 minutes to practice relaxation exercises when you feel anxious;
-Take social media breaks, start with one day;
-Read a fun book or watch a great movie;
-Play games and puzzles to sharpen your thinking;
-Do something creative, even if it’s cooking something new;
-De-clutter and clean your home, it feels great when it’s done!
-Video-chat with people you enjoy;
-Get nice color pencils and try coloring, we have downloadable designs.
If by any chance you feel that the stress of the current situation is getting to you, consider reaching out to us, we’re providing teletherapy and online counseling and we are ready to start helping you.