Social distancing is the buzzword in the U.S. right now, and rightfully so – it’s important and necessary and it’s not that hard to figure out what it means. And while it’s extremely important, it’s also not easy for people who are used to being out and about for the majority of the week. In fact, if you’re used to a more social lifestyle, social distancing can have a real impact on your mental health.
As I wrote on Tuesday, there’s plenty in the world to be anxious about – now more than usual. And while I hope everyone is doing the necessary preparations and taking proper precautions, I also know that it’s a very stressful time, and fear and panic can also do a number on our health if we don’t keep it in check.
After the events of the past few months, I feel comfortable saying it’s a nervous time right now – to say the least. And rather than tell you why that is, pretending I’m any sort of medical expert (I’ll just point you to the CDC), I want to focus on the anxiety that many of us feel right now surrounding the situation.
So an interesting thing happened over the weekend – I broke my laptop. Nothing major, just a cracked screen. I took it into the store the next day, they confirmed that’s all the damage was (no hardware issue), and I should have it back by the end of the week. When things like that happen in my life, events that warrant a reaction of any kind, I tend to use those as examples on my blog. It’s kind of a ‘lesson learned’ for how to react to certain things. But before I could get to writing, someone who’d been going through my blog (shoutout to the new reader!) gave me a helpful reminder that made me laugh out loud: I’d already written that post before.
The first time someone brought up the term ‘symptoms’ in connection with mental health, I was confused. All my life, I’d been told that symptoms are diseases and chronic conditions. If something feels off, it was understood that you hit up WebMD to find out which symptoms could match up with what you’re feeling. So when this therapist brought up several physical symptoms to describe my chronic (which I didn’t know at the time) anxiety, I was put off. But once they explained further, I began to understand that certain physical symptoms can indicate other types of anxiety disorders past my own.
There’s no doubt that there’s a connection between mental health and sleep, especially when it comes to the quality of sleep we get. There’s plenty of advice to dole out about this, so you have to be careful not to look at the problem from the wrong point of view. For instance, if you are anxious and you can’t sleep, there are other ways to fall asleep than getting rid of your anxiety entirely. Even though people will take that route.
Instead, you can manage that anxiety through different tips and techniques to help you sleep better. Yes, limiting screen time and not having caffeine too late in the day are both very important tips, but that could honestly affect everyone. Instead, I’ve found 3 tips that have proven to be helpful to sleep well with anxiety, so I thought I’d share them!
How’s 2020 treating you so far? Maybe you’re thriving, crushing it in every way and absolutely loving life. Maybe it’s the opposite and you’re just hanging on for dear life. Or you might be like me – hopelessly stuck in the middle and uncertain of which direction to go. I usually wait until later in the year to tell myself what I’m about to tell you, but I didn’t feel like waiting. It’s time for a public service announcement:
Whatever is going on in your life right now – you’re just as human as everyone else.
When I’m facing bouts of depression and anxiety, sometimes it’s hard to see things outside myself. And if I’m spiraling, it becomes almost impossible. If all you’re trying to do is hold on and survive the next minute, hour or day, it’s easy to forget that you aren’t the only one going through this. But as statistics show, you are not even close to being the only one. But I’m different, I would tell myself. No one is suffering in the same way I am. And I know why I thought that so much when I first faced depression. Even now, years later, there are still moments where that’s in the back of my head when I’m in a tough spot. I never viewed myself as a person just like everyone else, so the way I spoke to myself was extremely terrible (it’s still not great now, but it used to be much worse).
This is the third December that My Brain’s Not Broken has been around, so we’re now at the third time I get to write about mental health around the holidays. The first year I wrote about how mental health does not take time off for the holidays, even if you do. Last year I focused on using that quality time with friends and family to check in and see how your people are doing. Since I don’t want to get repetitive, I’d like to take a different direction, about the anxiety the holidays can bring and what you can about it.