6 Tips to Help Manage your Mental Health in a Pandemic

Managing our mental health during a pandemic is one of the most difficult things many of us are trying to accomplish. It’s hard coping on a normal day without the world falling apart, let alone the added stress people feel while dealing with their emotions while in lockdown. It can feel isolating, monotonous, tiring, and even frustrating. There may be days where your mental health takes a toll on you and seems to get worse before it gets better, but there are things that you can do to help you during this time. 

  1. 1. Limit your media consumption

    I know this is definitely easier said than done, considering that a lockdown means less options for  entertainment, but what we consume plays a role in our state of mental health. Those perfect body images, sad news, and highlight reels affect how we think, and how we think affects how we feel. There are many things we don’t have control over when it comes to a pandemic, but monitoring what we consume mentally is something we can do. For me, I unfollowed many accounts that I found didn’t contribute to my peace. You can also download certain apps or use features on your phone that can help control your social media usage. You’ll find that once you do this, you’ll be able to get more done during the day and you’ll feel more in tune with yourself. 

    using phone in a crowded room
  2. 2. Order self-help books online

    While investing in a therapist is helpful, the reality is, many people are without therapy because of financial difficulties or waiting lists. If you are currently without therapy, there are books online geared towards mental health that might help you in the meantime, just until you are able to get the support you really need. There are workbooks on anxiety, depression, and resources to help with thoughts and emotions. It might not be exactly what you need right now, but these books can keep your brain occupied and teach you ways to  cope. 

    Girl holding cup of coffee and book
  3. 3. Take time for self-care

    Work, school, a relationship, family, etc., take much of our time during the day. It can be exhausting to manage our mental health if we never get to slow down and take care of ourselves. The one good thing about this pandemic is that it has made us slow down. Even if it’s just for a half-hour, taking time for yourself is something you deserve, and it’s necessary for your mental health. Buy yourself something nice, order a latte and take it home to enjoy, read a new book, sleep, try some new face masks, or take up yoga. Whatever it is that you feel you can do to get more in touch with yourself each week, do it. It’s beneficial for your mind and your health. 

    woman stretching in bed
  4. 4. Track your emotions

    Another thing that is helpful is to keep track of your emotions and monitor what your triggers are. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. You can keep a journal and write out how  you are feeling, taking note of when you are having a bad day and which situations or thoughts prompted these emotions. Taking a mental note of what affects you will help you see what contributes to your anxiety, depression, or mood fluctuations. 

  5. 5. Take your time when looking for a therapist

    Therapy is an amazing tool for mental wellness. The demand for mental health resources has been strained by the pandemic, and many people are having trouble finding therapy right now. However, there are definitely still resources for finding a therapist suitable for your needs. Psychology Today is a great tool for finding therapists, counsellors, and psychotherapists. Patience is key during this process: you don’t want to choose just anyone because they are available, but instead pick someone who can actually help you. Write down what you are looking for in a therapist and the issues you are looking to address and ensure that this therapist can meet your needs. You might go through a few before you find a good fit, but just be patient. 

    Kristen Bryant-Thinking In A Lala College Sweatshirt
  6. 6. Don’t forget gratitude

    It might not feel like you have blessings while surviving a pandemic. Many people lost their jobs, are away from friends and family, and have even lost their lives. However, in the midst of all this, we still have things we can be thankful for, even if it’s small. Making a gratitude list of all the things you are grateful for can remind you of the things that make you happy. A gratitude list can keep your mind focused on hopeful things and hope is a driving force to mental wellness. 

A pandemic is not an ideal situation for anyone struggling with their mental health. It can be an isolating and lonely experience, especially since many of us are away from friends and loved ones. We can only do what we can to cope, but there are tools available to you to help you manage. You are not alone. Things will get better.