Mental health is health. That is one thing the pandemic taught us. Isolation is not beneficial for anyone. We need positive interaction with other people. Hugs and kind touches are comforting and vital to our well-being, and verbal discussion and debate are healthy for our brains.
As our world opens again, you may find yourself struggling to adjust. You may experience anxiety at the thought of leaving your home or panic when you find yourself in a crowd. These are natural reactions after living in isolation for more than 12 months. You may need time to adjust, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Managing your mental health should be part of your daily routine now that you can be more active. The following suggestions can help you manage your mental health as you begin to get out and about again.
1. Start Socializing
People need to be around other people. Isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health symptoms.
Now that the world is opening back up, use the opportunity to meet up with friends and family you haven’t seen in awhile. If seeing tons of people is causing even more anxiety, be sure to take things slow. Meet up with a friend or two or lunch to get things started.
2. Plan Ahead
Spontaneously doing things is exciting. However, it can also add extra stress. When planning ahead, you can set yourself up for a successful and positive experience.
When you make plans, you have time to rest, take your meds, and make sure you have a positive outlook. These factors will help you enjoy your time out while maintaining good mental health.
3. Know Your Activators
The best way to manage your mental health post-Covid is to have a firm understanding of your activators. You cannot avoid activators all the time, but you can minimize them by making advanced plans. Following are examples of activators:
· Loud noises
· Too many people
· Excessive excitement
If you do experience an activator that results in an anxiety attack, know your coping skills, and use them.
4. Develop Coping Skills
These are ways you handle mental health symptoms after they are activated. You may need to do deep breathing exercises. Some withdraw from the situation by leaving it physically. Yet others may hum or count backward from 100 until they are calm.
If you do not have coping skills, your counselor can help you develop them. Remember, this can be a trial and error process. What works for one to cope may not work for someone else. Figuring out what works for you ahead of time can help you be ready when the time comes.
5. Be Honest With Yourself and Others
Do not prolong any discomfort. If you need to leave a situation to avoid an anxiety or panic attack, then go. As the world is reopening, be sure to grant yourself a lot of grace. You don’t need to “stick out” situations that are making you uncomfortable.
You can also be honest with your friends or loved ones. If you think you are not going to like doing something or going somewhere, say so. Avoid situations where you feel stuck because you rode with someone and have no way to get home without them. Stay safe by being honest with friends and family members.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Everyone can improve their mental health by getting enough sleep. It needs to be quality and uninterrupted sleep. The amount of sleep you need depends entirely upon you. Medications you take may impact your rest, causing you to sleep longer or making you groggy during the day.
Experts suggest you get at least eight hours of sleep every night. However, many people get by with six or seven hours. Some people can take naps during the day; others find that naps disturb their sleep at night.
7. Create a Self-Care Routine
When diagnosed with a mental disorder, the first thing you learn is how vital self-care is to your overall wellness. Unfortunately, men and women are both raised to take care of everyone but themselves. It is the main reason you did not seek help as soon as you noticed depression, anxiety, or other mental disorder symptoms in yourself. You learned to “deal with it.”
Fortunately, you can change your outlook and behavior when it comes to self-care. Following are examples of the ways you can focus on yourself regularly to relax, de-stress, and breath:
· Practice meditation
· Take a bubble bath
· Do yoga
· Sit quietly
· Take daily walks
These activities release endorphins in your brain, which make you feel better. You feel happy, and this improves your mental wellness. Now that is self-care!
8. Have Fun
Above all, enjoy yourself. When you laugh, you release more endorphins in your brain. You continue to feel good. Your health and mental health improve with every step you take to enjoy yourself.
You can have fun while focusing on your mental wellness as much as you do your physical health. Exercising outside means you focus on something other than your worries or problems. Playing on the beach or swimming in the pool are other fun distractions that can improve your mental health.
Returning to our “normal” is not possible. Fortunately, many have come to accept mental health is health. There is no shame in acknowledging mental illness symptoms or seeking diagnosis and treatment. Taking care of yourself and thriving is more important than feeling shame or hiding the truth. Manage your mental health today and every day!
We Can Help
Are you feeling stressed or nervous about heading back to the office or being in large groups of people as the world reopens? Schedule a consultation with us today to make the transition back to "normal" life a bit easier. We look forward to hearing from you!