Manging your mental health during the pandemic

COVID-19 has caused a significant, global pandemic, pausing our economy, shifting our lives, and placing great strain on physical and psychological health.

Down to the unfamiliarity, down to the unknown, down to the anxieties caused by the pandemic, mental health risks are unfortunately one of the biggest concerns. As a whole, the economy has received a stream of support from the government, tips have been in place from the start to preserve physical health, and national and local lockdowns have been enforced to protect the NHS. Yet, what has been offered to thousands of individuals suffering with pre-existing mental health conditions, or to those with recent symptoms?

While professional mental health support is available, advocated here at Step One Recovery, it is also important that virtual support, that self-help tips, and that communities of likeminded people are shared. Having mental health support is vital for anyone through this new normal, which may go on for some time.

If you’re yet to experience mental health side effects, caused by the pandemic, there is a likelihood that you or someone you know may struggle later down the line. Understanding ways to build resilience and work through those struggles will help to ease vulnerabilities, to ease feelings of helplessness, to ease feelings of isolation; all common feelings through a shift in lifestyle, responsibility and relationships.

Here’s some tips from our specialists on managing your mental health during the pandemic and through our new normal.


Mental health risks during the pandemic

Have you noticed a shift in your mental health since the start of the pandemic in March 2020? If so, it is understandable why, as our lives have significantly changed, most for the worst. While we are lucky to have our physical health and systems in place to support our health care services, unfortunately, mental health support on a local scale is lacking.

Through previous lockdown attempts, a significant rise in mental health risks and conditions materialised. This was predominantly down to a lack of routine, physical and emotional contact, and isolation.

Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, phobias and paranoia are different types of mental health issues which have been heightened through the unknown and constraints of the pandemic, reducing our already diminished quality of lives. Job losses, money worries, bereavement, change in family dynamics, losing ourselves and our purpose, and uncertainties have all been experienced to some degree via the pandemic.

Prior to COVID-19, a stigma was associated with mental health issues and opening up about them. At Step One Recovery, we consistently attempt to break that stigma, as it’s important to reach out for personal and professional support. Yet, now more than ever, in the midst of a pandemic, we must value mental health support and self-help tips.

If you’re wondering how to deal with your mental health at home, here’s some tips, condensed by our specialist team. While mental health centres and treatment services are working tireless to offer support, greater pressures are present, resulting in delays. You can start by helping yourself through the below tips, up until you can access professional intervention.


Managing your mental health during the pandemic with our tips

Mental health is a personal matter. As a result of this, you’ll likely find some personal coping strategies to manage your symptoms. Yet, below are some common ways to cope through the pandemic, physically and psychologically.

Distance yourself from media

The media can easily heighten anxieties. From new regulations and death tolls, to placing fear into the public, it’s easy to see how the news, how social media posts, how the media as a whole are contributing to mental health issues.
While it’s important to remain connected, we recommend that you take regular breaks, that you only listen to credible sources, and that you aim to focus on positives.

Focus on your health

When suffering with mental health symptoms, it’s easy to see how our overall health can slip. This can however aggravate mental health side effects further.

By focusing on your overall health, you can work to suppress those anxieties or low feelings. Aim for optimal rest, exercise, nutrition, meditation, mindfulness and overall physical health. By doing so, you’ll not only increase your immunity from COVID-19, you’ll also experience organic endorphins, helping your mental health.

Turn to virtual support

Through strict social distancing and lockdown rules, it can be hard to experience adequate physical contact. Yet, through the internet, we are lucky that virtual support and contact can be made. Using mental health online groups, reaching out to loved ones, building communities through online apps/social media chats will be beneficial.

Focus on what you can control

It’s easy to focus on uncontrollable variables when experiencing an unfamiliar pandemic. Yet, by doing so, our mental health will take a hit. With this in mind, by focussing on parts of your life that you can control, you’ll feel in greater control over your existence, your routines and your lifestyle.

Remember, guidelines are in place to protect our health system, local areas and communities. Yet, you must also do what’s right for your mental health.

Open up and share your worries

Many individuals will hide away from loved ones, believing that their problems will burden family, friends and employers through the difficulties of the pandemic. When in fact, it’s important that you do open up regarding mental health issues. It’s also likely that many others will be experiencing similar worries through the pandemic.

Support can transform your mindset, helping you see things clearer, focus on the positive and take control of your new norm.

Consider holistic therapies to help mental health

If you are really struggling with your mental health, please remember that professional support is still available. Considering holistic therapies to help mental health is encouraged, available here at Step One Recovery.

While we cannot dictate the next steps caused by the pandemic, while we cannot control the new norm, we can help you work through your mental health battles.

Looking after ourselves and our loved ones is very important through this pandemic. By doing so, we can strengthen the quality of our lives, ready to face up to the pandemic and its future consequences. Strengthen your mental health, ready to adapt and persevere post COVID-19.