How To Improve Your Mental Health During A Pandemic
If you’re looking to improve your mental health during the pandemic, you are not alone. Approximately four out of every 10 adults in the United States have reported a mental health incident, such as anxiety or depression, since the start of the coronavirus crisis. This is a 300% increase compared to 2019. Unfortunately, fear, anxiety, depression, seclusion, and many of the other experiences we’ve had within the last year and a half can take a significant toll on mental health, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
To improve your mental health, you must start with intention. Learn to focus on self-improvement, change your thought process about the pandemic, and take care of your body. Here are some tips to help you get through what might be another year or more of uncertainty.
Focus On Self-Improvement
Self-improvement comes in many forms. No matter what you choose to do to improve upon yourself, your first step is to determine where you need improvement and then set goals.
Do you want to improve your ability to speak in public? Are you interested in learning how to relax on command? Have you discovered shortcomings that make you a less effective parent or employer?
Using these examples, you might take a public speaking class, practice self-hypnosis—a tool The Self-Improvement Blog has touted before —or learn how to avoid comparing yourself to other parents. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to improving yourself from within, and only you can decide where you need to make changes.
Improve Your Mental Health By Reframing The Pandemic
Something we can’t change is that we continue to live in a pandemic world. If you want to improve your mental health during the global crisis, you have to reframe the way you perceive it. While it’s easy to get lost in sorrow at the things that we’re missing out on (time with the grandparents, travel, and even in-person school) and mounting concerns over new variants of the virus, it pays to focus on the good that has come out of this situation.
Think about this: lockdowns in 2020 gave you more time with your family. You may have cooked together, played hide and seek with the kids, or enjoyed the outdoors more than ever. Other bonding activities that you may have had more time for were watching movies, playing board games, or building Legos with your little ones.
Something else to consider here, especially for those of you that work at home, is that more time away from the office means you don’t have a commute. Use this extra time to go back to school online. Not only will this keep your brain mentally fit but earning an online degree in accounting, technology, human resources, or other business discipline even makes you more marketable. As an added bonus, you can learn on your time so that you can focus on work and family when you need to.
Take Care Of Your Body On A budget
If you really want to improve your mental health, you also have to focus on your body. Something the pandemic taught us was that you don’t have to have expensive gym memberships to live a healthy lifestyle. CNBC reports that the majority of gym-membership-holding adults don’t plan to go back. This should serve as inspiration as you look for ways to do things like exercise and eat right on a budget.
Exercises, such as Pilates, swimming, and jogging are all inexpensive but very effective ways to lose weight and keep your body healthy. Eating right also doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and foods, such as eggs, nuts, and chicken, are all healthy, full of vitamins, and affordable.
One of the least expensive and most effective ways to improve your mental health is to get enough sleep. When you sleep, your body goes into a type of stasis. During this time, your brain effectively purges excess information, and your muscles, organs, and tissues have a chance to repair from daily damage. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night can make you more alert and more productive at home or at school. This alone can boost your confidence.
When your body is healthy, you aren’t distracted by things like aches, pains, and gastrointestinal disturbances. This can free up mental energy to focus on positivity. Plus, being physically well will help you feel more confident in yourself.
The Link Between Mental Health And Self-Confidence
If you’ve lost your confidence during the pandemic, improving your mental health can help. There is an undeniable link between poor mental health and low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can affect your confidence and makes it more difficult to engage in everyday activities, including social situations, which were already drastically altered because of social distancing and isolation.
When To See A Therapist
If you’re still struggling, it might be time to see a counselor. But, how do you know when to seek the assistance of a therapist?
According to ThriveWorks, the first sign you need help is if you feel overwhelmed. You might also reach out to a professional if you don’t have friends and family that you can talk to. Speaking of friends and family, if they continually tell you that they are concerned or that they believe you need help, it might be time to listen. Other reasons to look for a qualified counselor include inability to focus on anything other than your shortcomings, physical changes, such as weight gain, and a strong desire to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
To improve your health during the pandemic and beyond, you have to focus on yourself. Going back to school, exercising, or even seeing a therapist are all great ways to get yourself back on track mentally and physically. We don’t know when the crisis will be fully over. And, as much anxiety as this can cause, it shouldn’t keep you from living your best life. But, to do so, you have to start somewhere, and the above ideas can help you build a solid foundation for your mental health.
About the Author
Sheila Johnson once enjoyed a very successful career, but it came at a cost. Those long work weeks pulling overtime left her feeling stressed and burnt out. She barely had time to see her husband, and she certainly wasn’t prioritizing her health.