By Bhritanie Jardine, Psy.D.
While the stressors associated with the ongoing global crisis seem to increase with each passing month, our ability to effectively manage this stress does not automatically increase alongside it. Since the start of the pandemic there has been a collective intensification of stress related to health, finances, and constant adjustments. As a psychologist, I have felt relieved and grateful for the spotlight on mental health that has developed as a result, as I know prioritizing mental health during this time is crucial for maintaining quality of life.
Stress has an impact on our mood, behaviors, and body. People may find themselves feeling more irritable, refusing to talk to loved ones, or getting recurring headaches, just to name a few examples. Feeling stressed just reading about this? Well, know that I’m not gonna leave you hanging! Here’s what I call the three pillars of optimal mental health to focus in on to combat all this stress.
a. The pandemic has left many feeling more isolated now than ever before, and isolation can have a horrible impact on mental health. When we are alone, we are left with our own thoughts, and anyone struggling with anxiety or depression can tell you that the thoughts become much louder and more negative in those circumstances. You can also start to believe that you are the only one who feels this way. Make sure to reach out to at least one other person a day to combat this!
a. Self-care is a huge category and looks different for everyone. If you are unsure where to start, stick with the basics of prioritizing getting adequate sleep, nutrition, and movement. Then get creative with something that feels good that incorporates art, writing, or music.
a. Last, but certainly not least, cultivating self-compassion does wonders for effectively managing stress. Many have been taught that harsh criticism is the best motivation. Have you found yourself beating yourself up during this pandemic in the hopes it will make you more productive, or create more follow through in important tasks or responsibilities? Psychological research shows positive reinforcement, and taking a supportive encouraging stance not only adequately increases motivation but does so while building confidence and self-esteem. Not sure where to start? Speaking to yourself like you would to someone you love is a great rule of thumb!
While we may not be able to snap our fingers and make the Coronavirus leave and take all its stressors with it, we can focus in on these three pillars to feel our best during this time. The pandemic is temporary, but these skills can permanently be added to your tool box to help you through any future stressors!
If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, sadness, lack of motivation, isolation, loneliness, and feeling overwhelmed, please contact us directly at 561. 600. 1424 or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE phone consult. We offer online and in person sessions! Start feeling better TODAY!