Hello mental health champions, how are you doing?
Today I wanted to chat about the current state of the world we are living in. And I think when I say this, everyone knows exactly what I mean- COVID. We all know that Covid has shocked our entire world and although I literally want to scream every time I hear Covid or Coronavirus, it is important to talk about, especially with how this has all impacted mental health. In the beginning of the Covid outbreaks, I think for one of the first times ever, people that never had anxiety, experienced what actual anxiety is. Everyone was scared, but we weren’t even totally sure of what. We were all in survival mode, hence the beating the shit out of each other for toilet paper. People were straight up panicking and I think that since I have always had anxiety and worry, Covid didn’t totally shake me. However, this all changed when my family got Covid. I was isolated from my dad, mom, step-dad, friends, boyfriend, and entire family while my mom was practically dying alone. It was hard, to say the least. But I was able to try and survive that as best as I could. The whole point though, isn’t necessarily to talk about my mental health, but to try and give you some tips about what may help you. I was thinking the other day about Covid and got so mad. Like so freaking angry and had no clue why. Then I began to think about how shitty it is that we’re all stuck at home (and yes I know, technically safe at home- but it still feels stuck), how I am STILL recovering from Covid-19 that I contracted back in freaking May, and how it is really hard to live with anyone when you can’t go anywhere, LOL.
And also yall, listen here- I am an anxiety ridden, hot freaking mess. But, I have always made a vow to myself to try and remain positive in all situations and never let life take the good out of me and the kindness from my heart. And I have to toot my own horn, I have done a damn good job at that. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings about Covid, be upset by how it is affecting everyone, and just not liking the situation in general. It is funny because in many ways, I truly believe the world needed something to slow us all down and make us appreciate all that we have. However, I obviously didn’t want a pandemic or anything harmful, just something to make us realize that we have so much to be thankful for. And I am so glad that I have appreciated everything and had time to slow down. I know for myself, I alway struggled with FOMO. I would worry so much about missing out that the anxiety would overtake me to the point where I would end up not making the event I was excited for- talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. With quarantine, it honestly has been nice for me not having that FOMO and being able to just focus on myself for once, and not worrying about what anyone else is doing because we literally all can’t do anything! I know a lot of other people in my life also feel the same way. It also has been nice to be able to save some gas money and do school from my bed.
But although I do think that Covid has brought about some positive things like gratefulness, there are obviously so many things to be grieving. And yes, I said grieving. We are all grieving in one way or another. Grief is generally defined as a response to a loss. We have all lost things because of Covid. I personally lost a person, I have lost events I looked forward to, I lost a whole summer of freedom, and honestly I lost a lot of other things. I know we have all lost so much. It is so easy to slip into a dark spot when you have experienced so much loss in one year. On top of that, if you are empathetic or an empath at heart, you literally feel the emotions you see on the news of so many deaths and heartbreak. It is so hard to not let these things impact you. Going into the winter, it is even harder because it feels like we are even more confined to our homes. I wanted to talk about how I am keeping my mental health in check and how you can too during a time like this.
The first thing that came to mind was actually an idea my therapist gave me. One concern I had was that I love going on walks around the neighborhood. AND I KNOW- I could go to the gym but I don’t like it there. I also don’t like walking on a treadmill. Walking outside eases my mind and makes me feel at peace. This is obviously harder to do in the winter, so I was already like “well there goes another thing I can’t do”. When I told my therapist this, she immediately stopped me and said that there was no reason I couldn’t do it. Even though it is Chicago and cold, there is no reason why I can’t still go for a walk. I could bundle up super warm and still go for a brisk walk. I can even look forward to coming back and having a yummy cup of hot chocolate. It reminded me that a lot of times we make things so black and white when there really is a grey zone. I can still get some exercise and get out of the house, I just have to dress a little differently! When you take your options away, it can make your world seem so much smaller. It is better if you don’t make things so final and instead, remind yourself that you really do have options, they may just require more modification.
Another thing you can do is utilize the different rooms in your home, should you have that option. One thing I try to do is maybe have a sleepover in my living room. I blow up a mattress and watch a movie and put on fun PJS. It almost helps me feel like I am more on a staycation and the change of scenery can sometimes just totally help. You can also utilize your car if you have one. I think sometimes we forget that we can literally drive ANYWHERE. During the holiday season, I will also go for a drive around the wealthier neighborhoods near me and look at their christmas lights. It gets me out of the house, eases an anxiety, and entertains me while still having a change of scenery. If you don’t want to do that, you can still get in the car and go on a scenic drive or maybe even a drive that is sentimental to you. A drive that allows you to be in a peaceful state and still get out of your house. Maybe you can go for a drive-thru date where you go to many different drive thrus and get one item each, just for some fun!
Some things that I am doing in my own home to keep me mentally stable is trying to read a lot. Sometimes we need to stretch our imagination beyond the limits of just binge watching, which trust me, I am totally guilty of. But sometimes a good book can really suck you in while still helping you feel productive in a way. Another thing I am trying to keep up with is journaling. Just writing that you are frustrated and annoyed could be the one thing that helios you get those feelings out. I also am trying to have a self care night where all I do is focus on self care like face masks, lighting a candle, taking a bath, or doing something creative. Doing things that are creative are also a great way to take care of yourself. Creativity also stretches your brain in ways that some other things can’t. I sometimes feel like I always have to be productive. But I have learned that it is okay to do things for enjoyment that don’t always equal productivity. Something that may also help is setting timers throughout your day to remind yourself to take care of yourself. Small types of self care can be as simple as drinking the right amount of water, putting your lotion on, brushing your hair, and putting your clothes away. Taking care of yourself can also mean taking care of your surroundings to help and keep you as peaceful and decluttered as possible!
I hope that this kind of helps you just keep into perspective that although it may feel like you are stuck at home, there are so many ways to ease the anxiety that may come along with that!
Talk to you soon brain battlers, Gracie <3
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.