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Mental Health

Staying Informed Without Feeling Overwhelmed: Living in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

When the media first released coverage of the emerging Covid-19 Virus, I think it’s safe to say very few of us were expecting a global pandemic, affecting the lives of 7.5 billion people. This pandemic has brought a lot of hardship, loss, catastrophe, and hopelessness. Although we find ourselves on the road to recovery, the past year has been increasingly difficult and overwhelming in all aspects, and it’s been hard to stay optimistic! One of the biggest hurdles we’ve had to climb, is staying informed about the pandemic without feeling completely overwhelmed and hopeless. These strategies are crucial when trying to stay informed about the pandemic and it’s updates, while also staying sane and positive. It’s a new year, and remember it’s okay if the best thing you did last year was get through it! Better days lie ahead!

Follow Reputable Sources.

Covid-19 news seems to be absolutely everywhere we turn these days. Not only has it completely changed our day to day lives, but it seems to be inescapable! Every time we turn on the TV, every time we open twitter, every time we visit the grocery store, Covid-19 news is a bad ex-boyfriend you can’t seem to shake. Although news, updates, and information about Covid-19 is everywhere, we don’t have to believe everything we hear. Following and listening to reputable sources can mean following your provinces health care guidelines and restrictions, not what uncle Allan’s Facebook page says about how Covid doesn’t exist. Following reputable sources can mean watching CTV news, instead of watching dramatized American Fox news. Following reputable sources can mean listening to health officials recommendations instead of the anti-masker’s opinion standing outside of 7/11. Even social media can be super helpful in spreading information, but it’s hard to be sure if the information is 100% correct. While living in the midst of a global pandemic, the best way to prevent feeling overwhelmed is to listen to reputable facts NOT opinions!

Don’t Obsess Over Catastrophe.

Yes, catastrophe is close, but it does not have to be consuming. This pandemic has brought major life changes and challenges, and with that comes so much loss. There is so much crisis, hardship, struggle, sickness, and negativity all around us, and it’s been so difficult to navigate through, especially for such a long period of time! It is so important during this time of hardship, that we do our best to cope without obsessing over the bad. It seems as if everyone knows someone who’s currently really sick, or someone who has recently passed away, or someone who is struggling with the harsh life changes the pandemic has brought. All of us are struggling with our mental health in these really heavy times, and obsessing over these hardships only adds more weight onto our shoulders. The best way to prevent obsessing over catastrophe, is to keep informed on a need-to-know basis. Constantly checking the numbers of rising cases, or constantly checking the death tolls can bring us so much anxiety and turmoil. Keep informed, but not to the point where you feel so overwhelmed that you’re consumed by it! At this point, as long as you are doing your part in being responsible and taking the correct precautions, cut obsessing over catastrophe out of the picture.

Step Away from the Screen.

Living in a time full of lockdowns and restrictions, technology and social media has downright swallowed us. Although without these technologies we wouldn’t be able to stay as connected with one another, it can be toxic when trying to cope with staying informed without feeling overwhelmed. Taking social media breaks can be difficult, but so helpful in taking care of our minds. Putting our phones down, for even a few hours a day and doing something for ourselves can change our entire mindset. Read a book! Go for a drive! Go for a walk! Rearrange your room! Take care of your plants! Truly stepping away from our screens can work wonders for our mental health. We don’t realize how crucial stepping away from the screen is until we actually do it. Social media can be so overwhelming to begin with, but adding the pandemic into the equation, we are constantly reminded of how horrible things are. Obsessing over technology and social media only increases feelings of overwhelm in an already overwhelming time. It’s okay to step away, regroup, and prioritize our well being.

Stay Optimistic. Be kind to yourself.

This by far is the thing I personally have been struggling with the most the past year. I think we often forget that we have made it through some of the toughest times we’ve ever had to experience, and that it’s okay if the best thing we do is just make it by. We’ve made it this far, things can only go up from here. It feels like our whole lives have been flipped upside down, but we forget that the entire world also feels this way. Everyone is missing their families, everyone is struggling with school and work, everyone is experiencing loss and emotional turmoil. It is so important that we cut ourselves some slack and show some self-compassion. There are so many wonderful healthcare workers striving towards a solution and working towards better days. In this time all we can really do is support each other and be kind to ourselves. It’s okay if you got out of bed at 2pm, at least you got up. It’s okay if you put on some extra weight, at least your healthy. It’s okay if you are feeling overwhelmed, or heavy, or broken. It’s so completely okay if we aren’t living our lives to the full capacity as we used to, we’re living through a global pandemic! Be there for those who are battling sickness. Support those who have experienced loss. Encourage those who are struggling mentally. Reach out when you feel like your drowning. Comfort and cherish those around you. Check in on those you love and surround yourself with light. As cliche as it sounds, it is by far the most important thing to keep us going through these tough times. Better days await.

Keeping up with the pandemic and staying informed has proven to be immensely tough this past year. Even just staying afloat sometimes seems impossible. Although times are tough, we must remember that we are not alone in our struggles, and if these strategies help even a little bit, they’re worth trying. Anything that reliefs and reassures us of better days is worth trying. Take care of yourself first. 

 

“Look upon life with optimism and hope and look forward to a better day” -Rosa Parks

Abigail DiLullo (she/her) is an undergraduate student completing an English and Creative Writing degree at the University of Alberta. New to the “Her Campus Team”, she is eager to continue to develop her voice and share facets of herself through her writings. When she isn’t writing, you can usually catch her reading books, watching films, going on walks, listening to music spanning through the decades and hanging out with her beloved cat Penny. She is currently trying to discover who she is and who she is meant to be.
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