Changing The Way We Think About Mental Health | Guest Post by George Newton
No one will ever forget the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. From lock downs to shutdowns, people were forced to stay home and to make due with what they had. Schools and businesses were closed, and families and friends were forced to follow social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. Now, fast-forward to 2022. COVID-19 vaccines are available; people are going back to work; and social distancing guidelines are relaxed. However, the events of 2020 can still take a toll on people today. This overview will explore how mental health was – and still is – a major factor, when it comes to COVID-19. And, perhaps, we can change the way we think about mental health as we explore ways to overcome and feel better.
“The COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest topic that shook the world in 2020,” says Ian Garza, a health writer at Write my X and 1 Day 2 write. “With millions finding ways to cope with the pandemic, there were still struggles with mental health. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, or KFF, about 4 in 10 adults in the United States had experienced anxiety or depressive disorders during the pandemic. Whether these disorders were brought on by financial strains, emotional issues, or struggles to adapt to the so-called ‘new normal,’ it’s apparent that many people’s mental health were at risk during lock downs and shutdowns due to COVID-19.”
Exploring The Signs
Anxiety and major depressive disorders are most common in mental health. However, those diagnoses are just scratching at the surface of the main problem – the issue itself. Instead, you’ll need to look at behaviors and actions head-on, including:
- Long periods of sadness
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Panic attacks
- Thoughts of suicide, etc…
Changing Our Perspective On Mental Health
So far, there is more to mental health than one might assume. With many symptoms surrounding the issue, there is much to look out for.
Now, it’s easy to dismiss mental health as trivial or a nuisance. However, nowadays, there’s a need for more evaluations and solutions when it comes to mental health. So, rather than judge someone solely on behavior, it’s time to ask why they’re feeling the way they do.
Taking Back Control
With that said, there are many strategies that can help keep you healthy physically, emotionally, and even mentally. Here are some of the most helpful strategies that you can implement today:
- Be sure to stick to a stable routine. Having a daily routine can help you stay on task, so that you don’t fall into feelings of loneliness or despair. Routines also give you a sense of well-being as you do work, school, etc.
- Interacting with friends and family can have an amazing effect on your mental health. Rather than isolate yourself at home, it’s important to keep in touch with the people who care about you.
- Try to eat healthier. Rather than turn to junk food – which can lead to weight gain – add some healthier options like fruits and veggies. Also, think about why you’re eating, so that you’re not mindlessly eating.
- Exercising can also help. Being sedentary can have you feeling sluggish and moody. But when you exercise – whether walking, running, cycling, etc. – you’ll be in a better mood.
- It’s also important to get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can have you feeling stressed, tired, and drained of energy during the day.
- “It’s important to talk to your doctor or health care provider, when it comes to your mental health,” says James Anderson, a journalist at Origin Writings and Brit Student. “Even if you feel like everything is okay, you should still bring this up at your next doctor visit.”
- Finally, seek immediate help if you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Don’t wait to get help. Hotlines like National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help.
As you can see, mental health was the biggest issue surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, mental health is still an issue. However, with more awareness of the topic, and prevention in the areas most dire, everyone has a role to play – parents, students, teachers, healthcare providers, and so on. To improve mental health is to delve into the causes and effects, and to educate people on how it’s imperative to have a healthy mentality.