As the restrictions continue due to the pandemic, the potential new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues can be very challenging. Adapting to lifestyle changes such as these can bring up lots of feelings and it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, isolated and hopeless as contact
with others remains limited.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. It is important not to compare yourself with others as this only heightens feelings of shame, fear, and hopelessness. How you respond to stress during the pandemic can depend on your background, whether you live alone or with others, your current social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. Despite how others are coping, all of us need to focus on our mental health. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that we can do to build our resilience during these stressful times. Developing resilience doesn’t mean feeling good all the time but rather, having the necessary skills to deal
Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Some essential components for resilience include maintaining optimal physical and mental health, having healthy connections
with others and self-awareness.
Some recommendations include:
Have a Routine
Keep up with daily routines as much as possible even if you have nowhere to go.
This can include such things as:
- Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.
- Keep up with personal hygiene.
- Eat healthy meals at regular times.
- Exercise 3-5 times a week at a minimum, try and go for a daily walk if possible.
- Allocate time for working and time for resting.
- Make time for doing the things you enjoy.
Try to reduce how much you watch, read, or listen to news that creates. feelings of anxiety and distress.
Seek the latest information once a day if you want to stay informed, otherwise refrain from listening to the same information over and over again.
Stay away from Alcohol, Drug Use, and/or Compulsive Behaviors
Avoid using alcohol, drugs, or using food, gambling, shopping, video games, or other compulsive behaviors to numb or escape dealing with stress, anxiety, boredom, and social isolation.
Stay Connected with Others
We all need other people in our lives as isolation for long periods of time is detrimental to our mental health and well-being. It is common for people to underestimate how much they might benefit from the support of people.
Healthy relationships and social support help us build resilience during stressful times as support helps us cope better with stress, solve problems, reduce feelings of loneliness. Connection with others also will help shift our perception from feeling alone and hopeless.
Social support is even more important when things aren’t going well. Yet despite the benefits, people who experience problems may find themselves pulling away from their support networks. They may feel ashamed or uncomfortable talking about their experiences, fear that others won’t understand, wonder how others could even help, or think that they are burdening others. Their existing support networks might not give them the right support they need in their current situation. Unsure of how to help, friends or family may then start to reach out less.
Losing those important connections not only means that you have to deal with a lot on your own, but it may also validate difficult feelings like feeling unloved or unimportant.
Being self-aware is the core foundation for personal growth, health, and healing. Without awareness, we don’t have the necessary insight to take action that best suits our needs. Awareness or consciousness is the ability to perceive, feel, and become conscious of events, objects, thoughts, and emotions. When things emerge in our consciousness, we become aware, although we do not necessarily understand what it is, we have become aware of it.
Feeling lonely can contribute to anger and frustration against oneself and the world puts one in ‘victim’ mode. This perception aggravates isolation and loneliness therefore self-examination enables us to be more aware of our strengths and vulnerabilities so that we can remain proactive and work toward acceptance of the things that we cannot control when life is difficult.
Question your Thought Pattern
Negative and distorted thoughts can take root in your mind and blow things out of proportion so don’t believe everything your brain is telling you. Consider checking out your thinking with someone you trust or a health care provider even if you are convinced you are right.
Deal with Your Feelings
Most people try to ignore uncomfortable or ‘negative’ feelings but if we don’t deal with our feelings, they don’t go away. Over time, unprocessed feelings become intensified which is when people talk about feeling overwhelmed, have panic attacks, feel extremely anxious or depressed.
When feelings are not communicated and dealt with, they can boil beneath the surface and eventually cause so much pressure that they erupt like a volcano. Alternatively, if feelings become too intense, there is an increased desire to escape or numb with substance or behaviors to further suppress the feelings.
Mental health and Addiction
People with mental health conditions and/or Addiction are particularly vulnerable as their perception of themselves is often distorted. Mental health and Addiction affect a person’s
thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior in a way that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day.
These conditions may be acute (intense and short-term) or long-lasting (chronic). If you or someone you love have pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.
If you think you have new or worse symptoms, call your healthcare provider.
Asking for help
All of us need help from time to time and it’s important to reach out for help if you or a loved one is struggling. If you feel you need additional support, get some additional coping tools and
insight, please contact HUM for individual counseling or a comprehensive assessment.