In our world today, there lies plenty of uncertainty. No matter what location you are currently residing in, this time can feel very frightening. Mental health experts have reported possible increases in anxiety and depression during the Coronavirus pandemic, so it is imperative to be aware of any symptoms associated with these conditions. Fortunately, there are also some tips and tricks you can utilize to help during these periods of adversity.
Symptoms to look out for include:
- Feelings of loss
- Loss of self-identity
- Loss of sense of purpose
- Lack of motivation
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Irregular eating habits
- Excessive negative thoughts
- Excessive worry
- Increased frustration
Staying at home can reinforce isolation behavior or increase potential agoraphobic behavior. If you aren’t an essential worker or your income has been impacted, you may be experiencing an increase in financial fear. Several solutions can help ease your mind during this tough time.
Many smartphone applications like Zoom have been heavily used to participate in recovery-based meetings since the shelter-in-place order was initiated. Additionally, there are podcasts and videos featuring recovery speakers that can be accessed.
There are a ton of social media groups that are being used to “spread the word” about recovery based online events where you can participate with other people. Online support groups are available, as well, and can help with any struggles that arise. These support groups can be beneficial for people who are feeling especially lonely during this time.
Get Your Body Moving
Living a sedentary lifestyle can induce very negative thoughts and a lot of stress. It can impact your mental and physical health. Getting physical exercise is crucial to avoiding low spots. There are a lot of videos you can watch that have workout or yoga routines. If you can take a walk for at least an hour a day, that can be beneficial for your body.
One benefit of outdoor activity is the vitamin C your body can absorb via sunlight. When your body is moving and you are getting the physical stimulation your body needs, it will produce endorphins that combat stress. Neurotransmitters like serotonin or norepinephrine help your body better respond to stressors.
Depression and anxiety are linked to low levels of these neurotransmitters, so it makes sense that working out can make you feel really good, since it helps to produce higher levels of those chemicals.
Teletherapy is any communication that is done through technology between a client and a therapist. This form of therapy is extremely beneficial if you are someone who cannot physically make it to a therapy session, like someone following “stay at home” orders during the pandemic or an individual who is out of town but still wants to meet with their therapist.
During these sessions, you can meet with the therapist in real-time over Skype or other types of online communication platforms. The benefits of teletherapy are plenty. It is extremely accessible to anyone, making it a more flexible approach to therapy. Teletherapy is often more affordable than a regular in-person therapy session, and a lot of health insurance companies cover it, at least partially.
This type of therapy also allows for a routine schedule, since it cuts out your need for travel time, and may open up the therapist’s schedule a bit, as well. With teletherapy, you don’t have to feel alone or abandoned during the pandemic. It is easily seen as a continuation of your already “in progress” growth. This can help you feel like there is still some sort of normalcy during the pandemic, and you have someone professional to talk to who can help you.
Meditation is a tool that can be used to force your body to remain still and focus on your breath. With how fast we are constantly going, this pandemic has caused a lot of us to have to sit still instead of running around all the time. Because of this, it may feel uncomfortable or foreign to be in this position.
It is important to pay attention to how you are reacting to these obstacles, because it may be as simple as wanting to avoid thinking about what is going on with you. Those of us with chemical dependency issues lean towards not wanting to feel and running away from our problems.
This pandemic is a good opportunity to sit still and take a look at our internal selves. See what it is we are avoiding, and try to do something different. Meditation is a way to practice this. When you are so focused and still, your head can stop running for a few minutes — and with this, you gain some awareness.
With the awareness, you then gain some clarity. Then you might see that you have been avoiding some suggestions your sponsor has given you, or you are procrastinating an activity that you are supposed to have completed already.
Sleep and Eating Habits
Sleep and your eating habits have a direct correlation to your mental health. If you aren’t getting regular sleep or making sure you are eating nourishing meals, the probability of this negatively impacting your mental health is high. Try to set yourself up with a routine so you have a form of consistency in your life. Try to eat things that are good for your body, and have a regularly scheduled bedtime.
The pandemic may have affected your mental health, but Avalon Malibu is here to help. We treat anxiety and mood disorders, and our skilled licensed professionals are available to guide you through the recovery process. If you or a loved one suffer from anxiety or any other mental health disorders, call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.