Healthcare professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have an important message to share with you for the days, weeks, and months ahead of us. As we confront the second wave of coronavirus infections and shutdowns, they want you to know that you are not alone, and together we can flatten the curve again.
Life as we know it changed in 2020. Our world and social circles shrank to the confines of our homes. Work, school, relationships—almost everything was impacted as a result of the pandemic. In the wake of self-quarantine, new routines and self-preservation strategies were created. And just as life was becoming somewhat normal again, we find ourselves back to square one.
If that brings forth the all-too-familiar feelings of anxiety and depression that you felt back in spring and early summer, you’re not alone. Adjusting to big changes can be hard, especially for people with anxiety and/or depression. Even physicians, known for their stoic professionalism, are struggling with feelings of hopelessness and other challenges to their mental health.
But people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are survivors. This last year was hard, but in the struggle, we learned how to cope. This winter, use these tips to balance your mental and physical health.
Understand What’s Normal and What’s Not
It’s okay not to be okay. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and a pandemic can certainly push you beyond your ability to cope. Know the symptoms of depression, and know that it manifests differently in men, women, and children.
Take Care of Your Body
A healthy lifestyle directly impacts your mental health. There will be challenges and setbacks along the way—especially during a pandemic. Grocery options may become limited, gyms are closed, etc. Take care of your body during this time by trying deep breathing, yoga, and meditation, along with the following:
- Drink water.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Self-care is healthcare. When work, school, and relationships converge under one roof nearly 24/7, competing needs emerge. Self-care may look different now as we’re not able to do all of the things we once enjoyed doing due to pandemic restrictionsprecautions. Keep exploring interests and hobbies that feel nurturing or restorative to you, and prioritize doing things that give you a sense of stability or grounding.
Control What You Can
Holding on to the concept that you can control and suppress difficult thoughts and feelings only gives you more energy to pay attention to them. You can’t control a virus or the safety precautions put in place to prevent virus spread, but you can control the following:
- Your actions – Wash your hands, wear a mask, avoid physical contact with people outside your household, etc.
- Personal boundaries – Learn to say no, when you need a break, when you need help, etc. Try to establish separate spaces for work and home so the two don’t blur.
- Routines – Create a routine, but try to stay flexible. When a schedule is not flexible, it can lead to chaos and disappointment.
- Your worries – Worrying about things can be normal, but chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Try a worry drop. Write down your worries in your Mental Health Bullet Journal and move on.
- Forgiving yourself and others – A second shutdown may feel like you’re being punished on behalf of the actions of others. Part of managing anxiety and depression means learning to forgive yourself and others, helping you release deep feelings of sadness and resentment.
Get Professional Help
It’s important to know when to ask for help. Healthcare professionals want you to know you’re not the only one who’s suffering. In fact, 18% of physicians have sought mental healthcare for themselves in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Normalizing treatment for depression, especially among people who are highly regarded and knowledgeable in health and wellness, helps pave the way for everyone else. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you feel your mental health is suffering this winter.
Mental Health Is Health
When you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. When you have a fever, you go to your doctor. But less than half of American adults with a mental disorder seek treatment. There are several reasons why this occurs, including not being able to afford treatment, attempting to self-manage symptoms, and not knowing what treatment options are available.
It’s important to view your mental health as a priority, right up there with your physical health. While there is no miracle cure for anxiety and depression, there are many alternative depression treatments out there besides medication. And treatment doesn’t have to last forever.
When it comes to the price of better mental health, ridding yourself of anxiety and depression is priceless. In fact, when doing a cost-benefit analysis between alternative depression treatments such as Ketamine Infusion Therapy and traditional treatments such as antidepressant medication, Ketamine Infusion Therapy may actually save you money in the long run. Changing your mindset so that treatment is viewed as an investment in your mental health is essential to surviving the remainder of this pandemic. If you’re interested in Ketamine Infusion Therapy for depression and anxiety, get in touch with us today to learn more.