On Tuesday, I wrote about what my approach to mental health has been like during the pandemic – an approach that includes a bit of pessimism, an emphasis on focus and a willingness to let out my emotions when I need. The more I wrote about these things, the more I reflected on how I’ve been able to maintain mental wellness as often as I could during the past year-plus of this pandemic.
One of the more difficult things I’ve come to terms with is that as long as we’ve been living this way, I still haven’t truly processed what we’ve gone through, and what we’re still going through. Truthfully, I’m slightly nervous of what that will look like for my mental health. But the bigger question on my mind is, how do you process something when you don’t know when it will end?
In a surge of excitement earlier this week, I decided I’d go get a haircut in-person for the first time in more than a year. The pandemic and my anxiety are the main reasons I haven’t done so already, and while I didn’t regret that at all, I got excited because I found a place to go that I might feel more comfortable in, that wasn’t as busy and didn’t have as much going on. But then things shifted.
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.