A Pandemic Approach to Mental Health

For Mental Health Awareness Month this year, I’m placing a focus on the pandemic’s impact. At this point, I’ve been working from home for 15 months, my life has seen drastic changes, and I have hit more mental walls than I ever thought possible in only a year. Part of me hoped I’d never really write about my mental health approach from this last year and a half. Now that this is the second Mental Health Month in a pandemic, I decided to share parts of how I’ve been able to find peace and wellness where I could find it. This approach includes a dose of pessimism, an emphasis on focus and a willingness to let out my emotions when I need it.

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Managing Mental Health in a Pandemic

Back in March, I wrote my first post about the coronavirus pandemic. Like most of us, I had some naievete about the situation (to be fair, what’s happened in the United States isn’t very surprising, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing). Regardless, my first post about mental health during this pandemic was focused on how you define success at this point in time. I hadn’t thought about it in awhile but after hearing a friend recently bring up feeling like she was in a COVID slump, it clicked. Those questions still remained. What does it mean to be successful during a pandemic? How do we define what it means to be productive? I didn’t know much at the time, but there’s one thing I knew then that remains to be true: finding those moments during a pandemic continue to matter, especially when it comes to our mental health.

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COVID-19’s Impact on the Mental Health Community

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, the general public is well aware of who is most at risk to be hit hardest by COVID-19. Older adults and people who have underlying health conditions are those that we need to keep a close eye on and we need to make sure they’re getting all the care they need and maintain an extremely safe distance. But as we’ve learned, other groups are also at risk to be hit hard by this pandemic – including those who suffer from mental illness.

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Finding a Light in a Dark Time

It’s only Tuesday, but I can already chalk this week up to being one to forget. There’s plenty to worry about in the world but truthfully, that wasn’t what got to me (this time). Obviously, we all have our own approaches when facing tough situations and times of crisis, and what I’m learning is that not everyone handles it the same way. While most of it is for the best, some of it is…not. And dealing with those people – whether they’re friends, family, co-workers or classmates – can be frustrating.

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How Social Distancing Affects Mental Health

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.

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