If anything, the pandemic demonstrated how unpredictable our lives truly are. Life, as we once knew it, became uncertain in all aspects during 2020, from how we worked and schooled our children to how we communicated with family and friends. However, as March drug into April and May and 2020 became 2021, we slowly adjusted to this new way of life that was set before us – mask mandates, social distancing regulations, and all. Now, there’s an unspoken crisis unfolding that could cause a heavier toll over time.
While no one can say how many more waves the pandemic has in store for us, the emotional impact of the virus has become quite costly. We need to be continuously mindful of our mental health right now and take action where necessary to limit the after-effects of this weird period in history. Here are a few ways to better prepare ourselves mentally for life after COVID-19.
Accept Your New Reality Completely.
To begin with, all of us need to grieve the loss of life as we knew it. While you’ve probably already started this process, it’s important to confront your new reality head-on and accept it for exactly what it is. Acceptance, for example, requires letting go of thoughts like “what if,” “I wish,” or “if only.” Remember, acceptance isn’t an act of the weak. In fact, it’s quite the contrary, as it requires tremendous courage to face the realities of current circumstances. The sooner you do this for yourself, the better – and the quicker you do so, the faster you can move onto bigger and better things in your life.
Seek and Provide Emotional Support.
Make sure to check-in with how your loved ones are doing. You’ll want to hold space for them, so whenever you do this, make sure you have the emotional capacity on your end to really lend an ear without judgment. It’s crucial to go a few steps beyond the typical, “How are you doing?” You really want to make sure they are taking care of themselves in the best ways that they can when it comes to eating, sleeping, socializing, and remaining on an active schedule with work and exercise. Don’t rush to share your stories or offer unsolicited advice. Let them know you’re there for them and that it’s okay to seek professional help if they cannot cope – we all need a little extra help, sometimes!
Make Time to Create Moments of Joy.
While the battle against the pandemic is multi-faceted and might seem endless, it is essential to cultivate practices that give us joy. These practices might look different, depending on who you are. Maybe, you’d prefer meditation before getting ready to work-from-home, a cup of coffee on the balcony of your apartment home, late-night journaling at bedtime, a relaxing bubble bath with lush products, a FaceTime video call with your bestie, or weekend Zoom game nights with family. Whatever your version of self-care looks like, don’t be shy to indulge yourself, even during these times of crisis, to restore mental balance.
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