The world is opening up again but what does that mean for your mental health? Maybe you just started to get used to slowing down and now you’re feeling disoriented as the pace of your life is picking back up. Maybe you spent the last year with escalating anxiety that isn’t going away just because the virus is more controlled. We have all been impacted by Covid-19 in different and unexpected ways. The sun may be shining with hopes of a “normal” summer but if you’re not feeling normal, it’s important, to be honest about it. It’s okay. Everybody’s “bounce back” is going to be different. Admitting that you need help is an important step to navigating the effects of the pandemic.
Some ways to cope include taking time to check your emotional temperature. Powering through each day or sitting in despair are both avoidant behaviours. It is not helpful to ignore the feelings under the surface, rather it’s important to acknowledge them for what they are and address them head-on. Ask yourself what it is that you’re really worried about, what is the worse case scenario that causes you to feel distressed? Sometimes simply calling it out and identifying your worries can lead you to fresh perspectives and strategies.
It can also be helpful to talk about your worries with a trusted friend, colleague or family member. Chances are they can relate to how you’re feeling. When we hide our feelings it can lead to a sense of disconnection and isolation. Reaching out to someone in your life can help you feel understood and supported. There are many things we don’t talk about because we feel ashamed or we worry that it will change how people view us. It’s often quite the opposite, however. Most people want to connect on a real, human level, which means sharing in the joy and in the pain. It’s encouraging to know that you’re not alone.
Another tip is to take time to reflect on the things you enjoyed about your life before the pandemic. Why did you enjoy them? How did they make you feel? Sometimes it’s easy to forget what brings you joy when you’re disconnected from the people and activities that you love. You may not be able to do them right away but reminding yourself of what is to come can motivate you to ride the waves of change, knowing that there’s something familiar waiting ahead. If there’s something that is safe to do now, do it. Reintroduce that daily coffee, tea or smoothie meet up with a friend. If your life has changed more drastically then start a new ritual or hobby. Routines can be very helpful to establish a sense of purpose and productivity each day.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Be patient. Change is not easy and it’s normal to feel lost, nervous and insecure. Take it slow. One day at a time. One moment at a time. You can do this. There’s no right way to bounce back. Just keep bouncing until you find your groove.