How to Cope with Mental Health Struggles during COVID-19
The COVID-19 outbreak marks an unprecedented time in world history. You are living through a global pandemic, all while trying to maintain a sense of normality. It’s no wonder your mental health feels fragile right now. Thankfully, there are many ways to cope with mental health struggles during the pandemic and any other trying time in your life. Read on to learn proven ways to boost your mental health.
The Odds Are Stacked against Your Mental Health Right Now
According for the CDC, nearly 41% of Americans reported mental health and substance abuse struggles during the summer of the pandemic. In the month of June, “U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.” If you feel like you’re struggling, know that you’re not alone.
There are multiple factors working against your mental health at the moment, and most of them are beyond your control. You’re likely dealing with a combination of…
- Isolation and limited social interaction
- Job loss or income reduction
- Financial struggles
- Schedule and environment changes
- Rapid lifestyle adjustments
- Seasonal depression
- Holiday stress, anxiety and depression
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
- Homeschooling your children or navigating a new world of virtual learning
- Concerns about physical health
- Grief from the loss of a loved one
- Uncertainty for the future
- …and much more
You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can change how you respond to them. Once you shift your attention from what you’re dealing with to how you’re dealing with it, you can truly take on your mental health struggles.
Coping Strategies That Actually Work
Here are some proven coping techniques for anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health challenges:
- During an anxiety attack, focus on your breathing. Inhale slowly for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds. This process takes your mind off the anxiety trigger and calms your increasing pulse.
- Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Go to sleep around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning. Your mind and body thrive with predictable routines, and your brain relies on rest to sort through your thoughts and emotions from the day. The better you sleep, the more prepared you are to tackle mental health challenges.
- Avoid the news and social media, especially if they trigger your anxiety. If you find yourself getting frustrated, scared or anxious every time you scroll on your phone, take a break from it. Shift your energy to house projects, reading a book, journaling, art, music, or anything that can ease your mind.
- Socialize as much as you can virtually. Start a group chat with your best friends or schedule a video chat with your family members every weekend. Even if you can’t see your loved ones in person, you can maintain those important connections in your life.
- Write down what’s going through your mind. What you write doesn’t have to sound eloquent or make sense in the moment. You just need to get what’s in your head down on paper. Sometimes all it takes is verbalizing your stressors to find solutions for them.
- Exercise and eat a well-balanced diet. Your mental health and physical health are deeply connected. By taking care of your body, you set a solid foundation for positive mental health.
- Celebrate your small victories. You paid a bill today. You found a way to feed your kids. You put up the dishes or started a load of laundry. Take comfort in your accomplishments, no matter how small they seem. Then use that momentum to fuel future triumphs.
Learn Personalized Coping Mechanisms for Your Mental Health Struggles
The best way to cope with mental health struggles is to find personalized techniques that address your specific needs. Pinpoint the sources of your challenges, and discover ways to resolve them directly. At CNLD Testing & Therapy, we specialize in finding unique solutions that fit each person’s lifestyle, personality, triggers, goals, and more. You’ll be matched with a licensed therapist who can equip you with the tools for success.