Over the past year we have suffered from the strain of the pandemic lockdowns. This last one has caused more pain that the earlier ones as it caused people to lose hope. After being promised that if we gave up Thanksgiving plans, we would be able to celebrate Christmas, news came in that we were under a stay-at-home order. This is just one example of the way that we were starting to see signs of relief from the pandemic and then it was taken away by this awful virus. This has caused issues with everyone’s mental health. How do you know when its just a little bump in your road and when to reach out for help? Here is a quick mental health check to help you know.
Have I noticed a dramatic change in my sleep or appetite or a decline in personal care?
When I’m able to talk with people, do I feel disconnected from them?
Over the last two weeks have I felt worthless, hopeless or unusual sadness?
Have I been having difficulty concentrating, or noticeable problems with my memory?
Have I lost the initiative or desire to participate in activities?
Have I experienced an unusual drop in functioning, at school or work?
Have I started to tackle multiple goals/activities at once (more than I usually would) or jumped from one interest to another in an attempt to do it all?
If you have answered yes to more than two of these questions, then it is time to reach out to a mental health professional and have a mental health check up.
Mental Health Check Up
A mental health check up is the equivalent to going to your doctor for a physical except it is for your emotional, cognitive, and spiritual self. This appointment consists of your therapist asking you questions to find out how you are functioning and dealing with life’s demands. This assessment will then determine if you require further assistance. If you do, your therapist will then let you know the plan to get you back to feeling like yourself again.
Things that Can Help
I hate taking these types of questionnaires and then being left without something to do in the meantime to help feel better. Here are some things that will help improve your mental health:
Change things up. If you find yourself stuck in routine because the pandemic has limited your activities find was to change things up. Try a different type of food, change up from watching videos to listening to a podcast, try to learn a new hobby. Any little thing that you can change will give your mind relief.
Practice self-compassion. We are all a little testy which can make our minds go to awful places. Some of those places are self-criticism. As things are difficult it is important to give ourselves grace.
Practice gratitude. We are now a year into this situation which is enough time to start looking back and seeing the good things this year has brought. Yes, there are a lot of negatives. But there are also some positives if you look for them. Start practicing gratitude by taking moments in your day to think about what you are grateful for. You’ll find that it will help you be more positive and move you towards enjoying life.
Reach out to people. Connection is key to strong mental health. As much as we think we can handle life on our own, this year has shown that is not the case. We suffer in isolation. Reach out to someone this week and have a chat. Keep those connections for your and their health.
You are important. Your mental health is important. Take the time to take care of yourself and keep yourself mentally strong. If you are ready to be connected with your own personal therapist, call to make your appointment today.