Managing your mental health during COVID-19
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
The Covid19 Pandemic has impacted the mental health of many. The need to isolate, quarantine requirements, job and income losses, not being able to travel to see family and friends, has put a strain on the mental wellness of many.
But what exactly is 'mental health' and how can we stay in charge of our minds in the midst of a crisis?
Firstly, 'Mental Health' should not be confused with mental illness.
Everyone has mental health - it is your psychological, emotional and social well being.
A balanced and healthy mental state means you can cope with everyday stresses, work productively throughout the day and make meaningful contributions to your community.
If these sound like something you are struggling with it’s possible your mental health needs a check-up.
Increased feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Increased feelings of worry and guilt
Lack of interest in things that used to bring you joy
Sleep and appetite changes (drastic)
Major mood swings
Withdrawal from social activities, family and friends
Increased stress levels
So how can I manage my mental health?
The first step to combating mental health decline would be to find ways you can cultivate a healthy mindset. This is different for everybody but generally focuses on:
Building meaningful relationships. Feeling connected to people important to you can be a great way to build up your social well being. Such as family, friends, classmates or even people who go for the same sports team as you.
Creating a sense of purpose for yourself. Home improvement projects, learning a new skill or overcoming a minor fear allows you to set and achieve goals which can build your confidence.
Giving your body and mind a workout. Exercising your body has a proven link to improved mental health. But also crosswords, Sudoku or even reading your favourite book will give your brain a healthy boost.
Taking time out and practising relaxation. Meditation, watching your favourite TV show or sitting at the park in nature are great ways to relax your mind.
Finding help when you need it
Sometimes we can try our hardest to cultivate a healthy mindset but the stresses of everyday life become too much.
If you are finding your mental health is still declining, it is vital that you find support.
The best way to help yourself is by asking someone else for help. It's important that this person is a trusted individual such as a parent, sibling, cousin, aunt or even a close friend.
This can feel extremely difficult, but by talking to someone you trust you release the burden of keeping feelings bottled up and make sense of the difficult feelings you are experiencing.
If you are struggling to find the words, practice what you want to say and begin the conversation with phrases such as “I’m not sure how to say this", "I find it difficult to talk about what I’m feeling” or “This is not easy for me to discuss, I’ll do my best to explain”.
Express that you don’t know exactly what you need and ask for suggestions or help to figure out a plan.
GP’s, school/uni counsellors and trusted teachers are also great people to start the conversation with.
If you're not yet comfortable talking to someone about your mental health, that is completely fine!
There are a number of resources available to help you.
Remember that your mental health is never static and is an ever-evolving journey.
It is important for you to listen to your brain and your body to ensure you are healthy and happy each day.
If you have immediate concerns for yours or somebody else’s safety please call 000 (emergency services) or Lifeline at 13 11 14.
The world is better with you in it.
If you would like more information on managing your mental health, have a read of our "Managing Your Mental Health" Module available below.