A focus on mental health is an absolute must. The last few weeks have certainly given us a friendly reminder that life can take unanticipated twists and turns. The magnitude of this global pandemic has certainly taken the nation by surprise and the bulk of it still remains out of our personal control. Many states across the nation have stressed that citizens remain indoors to avoid spreading the virus. The State of Illinois is currently under a “shelter in place” order. For many of us this equates to working from home, engaging in distance learning, communicating via electronic devices and only venturing outdoors to obtain necessities. A new normal is underway and will likely impact how we function and conduct business as a nation post COVID-19.
This is a stressful time for many. Stress can show up in many forms including, worry about our personal health and the health of family and friends; examining our own mortality; and difficulty sleeping and eating. It is quite acceptable that other emotions have suddenly emerged – anxiety, fear and sadness to name a few. Intense feelings are normal given current circumstances, however, it can make existing mental health struggles worse. Please contact a mental health professional if you have concerns.
This is a dynamic where we can highlight all that is wrong. At Maziwa Tribe, we believe in providing solutions. We have a few recommendations that can help ease the stress of navigating during uncertain times. Please indulge as you see fit.
Media – Media is a tool that serves a multitude of purposes – both positive and negative. It is acceptable to take a break from news and social media outlets as the constant stream of information can be emotionally disturbing. Set time limits for watching news outlets and be sure to get information from reputable sources. Take it upon yourself to modify social media settings to hide triggering words, posts and videos. You can also choose to refrain from engaging in threads that bring about distress and angst.
Human Contact – There is a side of many of us that craves human contact. This is not possible in many states due to social distancing, however, it does not mean that one has to do without human contact. Tap into technology to reach out to others and utilize your creative skills to video chat with friends to celebrate milestones, communicate and check in. Several entertainers and DJs have live streamed their concerts via social media. Watching an Instagram live stream from your favorite artist can be a way to connect with friends while engaging in a shared experience or hobby with other fans.
Scheduling – Many are working from home and are forced to adjust to a new routine by default. This new routine may include binge watching a sitcom nightly, napping during the workday or homeschooling children while attending conference calls for the 9 to 5. Late nights may be a factor as one does not have to report to the office. Do your best to set up a daily schedule of some sort. It does not have to be rigid. A basic outline of how you’ll spend your time will suffice and at minimum help you to focus on priorities in between completing chores and homeschooling.
Gratitude – Adopting an attitude of gratitude can be a challenge. Do your best to find reasons to be grateful for all that is going well in your life. Giving energy to the office technology that is not working optimally from the home office is unproductive and damaging to your emotional wellbeing. Try shifting your focus to expressing gratitude for having a job and the ability to make a living from home in the midst of a pandemic.
Animals – Perhaps you have always wanted a pet. This time may be a great opportunity for you to foster an animal from a shelter. Shelters across the nation are always in search of volunteers to temporarily foster animals. Doing so is a win-win for you, the animal and the shelter.
“Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.”National Institutes of Health
We encourage you to speak with a mental health professional if you have questions about mental health or are in need a space to process your new normal. Stressful situations can exacerbate mental health issues and you do not have to suffer in silence.
S.N. Turner and Associates has created a free, self-guided course titled, “Is Counseling Really For Me?” to answer common questions related to counseling to help you to understand if you would be a good candidate. Additional resources are listed below for reference.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – National website
Psychology Today – Search for mental health providers (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists) throughout the nation
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Emotional Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Headspace – Guided meditation and mindfulness app for every skill level
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love & Breastmilk
The Maziwa Tribe blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content from Maziwa Tribe’s blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this blog is intended for general consumer understanding. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your family doctor or other medical professional to obtain medical advice.