Many unmet needs have risen during the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the most important being mental health. Continue reading this blog if you want to learn more about the mental health need rise, how to maintain good mental health during the pandemic and after the shutdowns have ended.
Mental Health Needs Rise During a Pandemic
The term mental health may imply that all the work gets done in your mind, but so many things contribute to our mental health. A worldwide pandemic has caused us to look at our mental health now more than ever. People have been forced into unthinkable situations. Some are trapped at home working and taking care of families. Others have lost their homes, jobs, health, and some have even lost their lives.
Lest we forget what people were dealing with before the pandemic hit. One of my favorite quotes regarding what we have all gone through is “We are all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat”. My hope is articles like these and talking about our struggles and triumphs with mental health will help us to normalize that we all have hard times, some of us now more than ever, and it’s ok to seek out help.
Whether it’s reading articles like these to up your self-care game, calling a professional, or joining a support group, this blog is written to remind you that you are not alone and you’re doing great even when you feel like your world is caving in.
Pandemic Quarantine Mental Health
If you are like me you are really into statistics, so I have done a little research for you so you’re not just taking my word for it, but have some actual data that shows you mental health issues have been on the rise since quarantine. In regards to the shutdowns and quarantine that have happened not just in the United States, but across the world, the results of an empirical article results showed, “The prolonged confinement is evidently related to psychological damage, considering that individuals would be subjected to stressors for a longer period of time. In some cases, these psychic losses lasted for many months after the end of this confinement.”
Some people were or are quarantined at home with large families fighting for space and resources, while some people are alone, again we see that same concept of “same storm different boat”. Both situations, in the moment and long-term, presented mental health issues. This article https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2024046 discusses the pandemic within the pandemic which is the rise of intimate partner violence during times of quarantine. Even more alarming, this article highlights the rise in suicide since the beginning of the pandemic. It also provides a nice visual chart on many of the identified stressors during this time.
Youth mental health during the pandemic has also been something I am very familiar with having worked as a social worker in a 3rd-6th grade school. Our needs are higher than ever and we are seeing anxiety and depression in children more than ever before.
Workplace Mental Health Pandemic
One more area of high need or a stressor that I would like to discuss that has become more prevalent during the Covid-19 pandemic than ever before is the workplace mental health pandemic and burnout.
Frontline workers especially, but anyone that has been working during a pandemic has been put in the extremely stressful situation of knowing they could be exposed to covid, and that they could bring that home to their families. More so, people who are working are often taking on more than their job descriptions entail. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “we are all doing more than our fair share, we are all going above and beyond.” Just because everyone is doing it, that does not make it right or sustainable.
Burnout is higher than ever. Burnout can be defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. An account I follow on Instagram @natalieholbrookwelness has great tips on recovering from burnout:
- Set and keep strong boundaries with your expectations for, work, yourself, and others
- Decrease screen time throughout the day
- Remember it’s okay to say no
- Get outside in the sun every day
- Move your body in the morning
- Go to sleep before 10 PM
- Reduce sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
- Balance your nutrient intake
- Prioritize laughter and play
These are not only great tips for burnout but also for any form of stress you are having from the pandemic or life in general.
How to be Mentally Healthy During a Pandemic
Now that we have acknowledged that everything is “not fine” we can work together to provide you with ways to get through this time. That being said admitting when you are not ok is half the battle. That sends a signal to your brain and others around you that it is time to get help and it’s ok to ask for it! Yes, you read that correctly, it’s ok to ask for help!
When I worked as a chiropractic assistant for Dr. Mamak Shakib many moons ago I learned about the triune of health which she listed as emotional, physical, and structure. This was my first spelled-out approach to looking at health in a holistic way. Now I incorporate many more branches than just these three that all come together to impact our minds, bodies, and structures.
If you are reading this you likely go to a chiropractor, believe in chiropractic, or are a patient of Dr. Shakib. Chiropractic is a wonderful way to maintain your structure and help your body to be in balance and true alignment so that everything else may flow. Acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy, and massage are great additions to taking care of your structure and energetic body.
In regards to emotions, talk therapy is not the only way we can take care of ourselves. Another practice Dr. Shakib introduced me to, that I now am trained in and practice with my clients is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping. This is a mind-body practice you can do with a facilitator or on your own so that you do not have to do talk therapy. This article better discusses and outlines EFT in full.
Another mind-body practice that is one of my favorite ways to process and heal trauma is breathwork, you can read my last article on Breathwork here. Traditional talk therapy is always valuable and now more than ever it has become accessible with virtual options such as Better Help, Talkspace, and Larkr. If you are currently employed it is always good to see if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) oftentimes this provides free to minimal costs sessions. Another resource, if you are looking for a therapist, is www.psychologytoday.com. The national mental health hotline number is 1-800-662-HELP.
Last but certainly not least how we are taking care of our bodies is so important. This includes everything from water intake, to nutrition, rest, and movement. All of these are so important for our overall well-being especially our mental health. Having an accountability buddy, coach, or group is vital to taking care of ourselves. Many of us will take care of everyone around us before we take care of ourselves and that is a travesty because we simply cannot pour from empty vessels. This is your permission slip to fill your own cup!
If you feel like you are wanting more recipes, tips, and tricks to living your healthiest life, I have lots more tips and tricks where those came from. All of my meal plans include access to hundreds of recipes and short, easy, all levels workouts. If you have any specific recipes you would like or fitness program questions, always feel free to reach out to me.
“Sarah Savino is my recommended Wellness and Nutrition Coach who resides in Colorado but has a community of clients she guides and manages nationally. She has her frequent retreats that her clients are encouraged but not required to attend and someone who knows first hand how it is to be overworked and overweight. She is a living truth that once within the right community and with the right guide, everything is possible. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org and facebook.com/sarah.savino IG- the_fit_philanthropist ”- Dr. Shakib, your Irvine Posture Chiropractor