Combating Mental Health During COVID-19

Scary enough, it has been over six months since the start of COVID-19 effects, 231K people have died in the United States alone and it looks like it will not be stopping anytime soon. As the cold weather looms over us, slowly but surely moving in, we prepare for a winter that no one has ever experienced in their lifetime. This means more time to be kept isolated inside our homes, in order to escape COVID and the Flu from spreading more. What happens when you combine COVID anxiety, seasonal depression, regular depression, stress and losing one hour of sunlight?

I honestly do not know, and we are going to find out in the upcoming months.

Below are a few resources to hopefully help combat this crazy whirlwind of a time we are living in. These are a few mindfulness practices for people to try that cope with mental illness and even just your average seasonal blues.

 

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online company that offers consumers access to 1:1 online counseling and therapy services through text, phone, and video chat communication. They are leading in online therapy leader for their members. BetterHelp offers more than 3000 therapists, in order to match members with the perfect therapist they require you to fill out a form of what you are looking for and where you want assistance and within 24 hours pair you with a licensed therapist. Users are able to have access to their therapist at the touch of their fingers anytime, anywhere with the use of the BetterHelp App or website.  If you aren’t in love with your therapist BetterHelp allows you to go through as many therapists as you need to find your perfect match.

They even offer a student discount!

 

Peloton App

Working-out/ Yoga/ Meditation

When you think of Peloton you first probably think of cycling classes or their newest device their smart treadmill, but Peloton is more than just that, it is an app that offers a variety of classes/workouts. Peloton offers classes in: Strength, Yoga, Cardio, Meditation, Running, Outdoor, Cycling, Stretching, Bootcamp and Walking, ranging in levels from beginner to advanced, and class times as short as five minutes to as long as 60. Download the app and join the community of driven individuals who don’t take being stuck at home as an excuse. You can take as many or as few classes you would like, whenever works for you. The Peloton App tracks your classes and if you have a pair-able smart watch, it will pair with that and even track your heart rate and calories burned. This app gives you the option to try a variety of classes with different instructors for one price instead of paying by class which can get expensive quickly.

 

Sleep

As the clock moves back an hour, we lose an entire hour of sunlight which makes it feel later than it is as well as much darker. This can be a cause of seasonal depression, depression as well as anxiety, all of which can make it difficult to calm our minds down enough to fall asleep. Lack of sleep has been proven to be a cause of spikes in depression and anxiety specifically, which seems like a broken cycle. I previously wrote two points. 1. That we are constantly staring at screens which exposes our brain to block melatonin that we need to fall asleep and 2. A way to attack the issue at hand is getting up and active by working out and moving your body. However, there is another way that specifically can help with calming our minds and focusing on falling asleep or the task at hand is through meditation. You may be thinking I don’t want to sit quietly, with my legs crossed for 30 minutes, however that’s not the approach to all meditation. There are many variations of meditation types, here we are specifically focused on sleeping. Sleeping meditation is a meditation where the sole focus is creating better sleep; you do it before going to bed and some are even asleep before they finish. The focus on relaxing your mind and body so that you are able to more easily fall asleep, better quality of sleep, as well as stay asleep.

 

Ask for Help

Understandably enough this is easier said than done, but if anything good has come out of 2020, it is that the stigma behind mental health and asking for help is slowly being taken down. Now more than ever mental illness/health seems to be at an all-time high, which is not that unsurprising with COVID and the election stress that is currently happening around us. It is becoming more socially acceptable to openly reach out for help or talk about how mental illness is affecting you. There is no one size fits all solution for mental health and asking for help sometimes can make these conditions even worse just because of a chemical imbalance in our brains that makes us feel like we are a bother when in reality we are all struggling in different ways. Asking for help not being accepted is a thing of the past, many people will openly admit they may not understand how you are feeling, and you may not be able to describe it but are willing to listen and if needed or wanted offer comments. If you find yourself dropping into a negative head space, reach out to an individual you feel comfortable conversing with whether it be a therapist, friend, partner, family member etc. They are in your life for a reason and want to help you through the low lows and also support you through the highs. Stop being anxious to say “I am not ok”, “I need help” because the borders of mental illness need to be broken down. There is no time like the present, you can't ever expect someone to be able to understand if you do not take the time to let them try.

 

I hope these resources help take a weight off your shoulders and begin to allow you to have a better quality of life!!!