There’s never been a more important time to talk about mental health than now. Fortunately, there was already a growing movement to normalize mental health conditions and make the public more aware of early signs and symptoms. The movement was working and gaining momentum.
It’s really a blessing to have greater awareness given we are now isolated from our friends and colleagues, our lives are completely disrupted, friends and family members for some people are sick or dying, we learn everyday about new research or facts about a virus.
We are all living through a continuous traumatic event. Whether or not we become traumatized depends on the severity of outcomes and what are coping mechanisms are.
Whether or not are worries or stress begin to interfere with our thinking, emotions and behavior and disrupt are life, ability to cope, work, have relationships…the level of disruption is how we define a mental health condition. And yet every aspect of all of our lives is disrupted in some way. This puts an entire population at risk for the development of mental health conditions and/or substance use disorder.
Those of us who already deal with mental illness, well it can be hard on us. It will again depend on how well we can manage our conditions and cope with the current situation in a healthy manner.
What we have on our hands now is the opportunity to begin to think about how the stay at home orders are impacting us and our family members. What are some healthy ways to cope?
For myself, I find the outdoors to be my refuge. Nature is my church. It lifts my mood to work outside on various projects and breathe the fresh air while I listen to the gifts of nature.
Not everyone has that luxury.
I also listen to music, meditate, and limit my reading of corona virus articles. I turn off the news when I’ve heard enough for the day. I practice staying in the present moment. I’ve pulled out all my coping mechanisms.
And yet today when the weather didn’t cooperate I found myself feeling the stress of my family members. The conversations were about being frustrated with being locked in. I hadn’t really thought about it, until they talked about it and I was stuck inside.
I finally retreated to my room for some silence. Quiet. Giving my senses a chance to stop being stimulated. A deep breath, a couple Tylenol for a headache and lots of water made me feel a bit better.
I feel like we are in this for the long haul. I believe my mental health benefits when I don’t resist the obvious. I accept what is and keep moving forward just grateful I get one more day to see the sun rise and hear the birds sing.
My secret to positive mental health is acknowledging how I feel, doing healthy physical activities that improve my mood and give me a sense of accomplishment, and focusing on what I can control.
It also helps to have a Tylenol on hand for when the stress overwhelms me and I get a headache.
I accept that too. Whatever comes up I deal with it and keep on moving knowing in my heart that “this to shall pass.”
the Mental Health Movement will continue with a surge of heightened awareness.