Post Pandemic Mental Health – How to Return to Normal?
It’s been a little over a year since the world went into lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re still feeling the effects.
The emotional, family, health, and economic strains were and continue to be significant for many, but now it’s time to begin the return to what we once knew. As you adjust yet again to live outside, here are some things to consider for post pandemic mental health.
What to Do Next?
Focus on improving your mental health. According to the CDC, during the pandemic, as many as 31% of survey respondents said they experienced anxiety and depression during the pandemic, compared to around 12% in a pre-pandemic year. We’ve all been through a lot emotionally, so we must give ourselves the support we need to recover our mental health and joy in life.
Next, make small changes that can have a significant impact on how you feel like these.
Spend some time outdoors for at least 20 minutes every day. Studies show this can improve your mood greatly. Being outdoors promotes healthy emotions as you have access to sunlight and cleaner air if you spend some time in nature.
Try to Smile More Often
As the masks come off for fully vaccinated people, it’s time to smile at each other more. Even if you have to force yourself, smiling for 15 seconds can basically trick your brain and actually improve your mood. Also, if someone sees you smiling, it could start a conversation that will really enhance your mood.
Take Time to Make Yourself Laugh
Laughter, even the fake kind, causes the brain to release happiness hormones that will improve your mood. Look for opportunities to laugh more often, like:
- Having a chat with a friend/coworker
- Internet entertainment
- Or watching a funny video
Ditch the Phone for an Hour
Experts agree excessive phone time can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Even if putting the phone away for an hour a day initially causes increased anxiety, as you make it a habit, you may find you want to spend more time without the phone.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Journal about what you are grateful for every day. This helps make your thoughts feel heard, and it shifts your focus to the many things you have to appreciate in life.
Create a Small Task List
Plan to accomplish two to three small but important things each day to leave you fulfilled. The brain loves to feel productive. These small completions satisfy this core brain need to improve your mood day to day and over time.
Give Yourself Space to Mourn What You Lost
It’s normal to feel sadness, fear, anger, and other emotions around the pandemic and returning to post-pandemic life. Allow yourself to feel it and listen to your feelings.
The pandemic was especially hard on teens already dealing with many normal teen stuff like school, social issues, and other pressures. No sports, limited social interaction, and not having classes in person all caused emotional pain for many teens.
Studies show 1 in 3 teens have an anxiety problem by the age of 18. Not getting to see their friends or do normal teen activities like prom, dating, or sleepovers may have worsened these symptoms.
Now that things are getting back to normal, teens are finding it harder to return to a healthy mental state, and that’s okay. Give them space to feel what they’re feeling and an ear to listen when they need to talk about their post pandemic mental health.
Resources are Available Through Jonas Hill
If you or your teenagers need someone to talk to, know that we are here to help. Living with fear is no way to live long-term. We can support you in the mental health healing process as you and your family return to normal after the pandemic.
Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital, provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information. A safe space to heal.