06 Apr Did Our Mental Health Survive COVID19?
It’s no secret that a pandemic can and will affect our mental health, but could we honestly have foreseen this? It’s officially been a year since we were hit with stay at home orders, mandatory face masks and a shutdown we couldn’t have dreamed of.
So, how are we fairing presently?
It took us months to come to an understanding or acceptance that the virus wasn’t a short-term problem, and for most of us, it transported us to a place mentally we hadn’t visited before. We struggled to be inside, work from home, become teachers to our kids, and for many, just survive. Losing physical connections with our loved ones, be it friends or family, is devastating at the very least. The toll it can take on our mental state varies from person to person. We can’t predict how we’ll hold up and that’s scary in itself.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who knew to reach out for support early on, you may be in a better head space than others, or maybe not. Maybe you’re just getting by.
First of all, take a deep breath. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to say, “I’m struggling.” Most of us are. Be gentle with yourself. This past year has been traumatic and eye-opening in so many ways, so allow yourself the space and time to acknowledge that.
As the world becomes vaccinated and slowly opens back up, it won’t be a quick cure to what we’ve all gone through. We won’t magically pop out of the pandemic fog and feel like ourselves again. Some of us might but many of us might not. And that’s ok!
So, what can we do for ourselves to move towards healing and into a sense of normalcy?
Acknowledge the Experience
Rather than avoid the feelings that came with this past year, acknowledge them. We can acknowledge hard feelings and let them pass. Like a neighbor who passes by your house, you can wave hello and also wave goodbye. The negative feelings that are attached with experiences, such as a pandemic, don’t have to stay. When we allow ourselves to feel emotions, we grant permission to let them go.
Find the Positive
It’s important to find the positive lessons when we go through struggles. Did the pandemic allow you more quality time with your immediate family or significant other? Did it provide time for self reflection? Maybe it created space to pick up hobbies you hadn’t had time to explore in the past. There is always a positive perspective to any situation; we just have to choose to find it.
Transitioning back into “normal” life again can feel conflicting because it’s another form of change. It can feel difficult when we’ve become accustomed to this new lifestyle. But life is about change and we have to let go of what we can’t control and embrace our movement forward. Being open to change provides an easier flow of your internal energy. When we are accepting of change, we allow our energy to also stay open. We will feel more rested and less anxious as a whole because we are flexible to life’s ebbs and flows.
It’s normal to feel defeated even when moving forward in your healing process. But optimism is always a choice. When we can choose to be optimistic, we allow ourselves to be forgiven for our own shortcomings while also creating a positive outlook for our future. We aren’t perfect but with realistic expectations and a positive attitude, we can create an enjoyable experience while living in the moment, and also for our future.
Remember, no matter how difficult the situation may seem, you can always reach out for help. There never has to be shame attached to asking for help. Make an appointment with a therapist, if possible because sometimes all we need is a conversation and an ear to listen.
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