Maintaining Mental Health in Times of Crisis

maintaining mental health during crisis

You guys this post could not come at a better time! It feels as though overnight the world plunged into a strange, unfamiliar darkness. But in the darkness, I feel like there’s always a little light flickering somewhere, and that’s what I want to talk about today! Maintaining our mental health during times of crisis is so important not only for ourselves, but also for the people around us.

Everyone Stop and Breathe

I feel like almost no one has stopped to think about the COVID-19 situation in a healthy way. Most people in my community ran to the grocery store and bought groceries they’d never normally buy (are you really going to eat that frozen broccoli, buddy?) Instead of coming up with a decent plan for themselves and their families, people panicked and bought unnecessary amounts of toilet paper, hand soap, and even baby formula and diapers leaving none for their neighbors.

Everyone needs to stop and take some time to evaluate their situation and determine what they need to do next. If you’ve ever seen a horror film, you’ll know panicking does nothing but make the situation worse. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go from there.

Take Stock of Your Feelings

I know, I sound hokey saying this but for me, it really helped! Write down what you are feeling. It can be just single words or full paragraphs. Determining the emotions that are directing your actions can help you understand your outlook.

Personally, I feel very worried that I’m out of my normal routine and I feel sad that many of my social events were cancelled because I was looking forward to them. You might feel angry, scared, confused, or a hundred other emotions. However you feel, write it down, maybe share with someone else so you don’t feel alone in your feelings.

Do Something You Would Normally Do

I find that I can improve my anxiety and depression symptoms when I do things that I normally would. I like to clean my house on Saturdays and drink my normal 5 cups of coffee (yes, I know that’s too much coffee!) For you, that might be going outside to work in your yard, doing a workout from the comfort of your home, or maybe even making some homemade mimosas for a fun brunch at home! Whatever it is, add some normalcy to your new routine.

Look for the Heroes

I once heard someone say during times of crisis to look for the heroes in the story, they’re always there! I LOVE that. I see them on my Facebook newsfeed offering up the extra toilet paper they bought for free. I’ve seen people trying to organize groups of people to make sure food insecure kids have something to eat during the extended spring break. There’s also a viral video from Italy of people playing instruments on their balconies in an apartment complex. So start looking for the heroes and the positive news stories, they’re easier to spot than you think.

Help Someone Else

Sometimes taking the focus off of ourselves is the best way to improve our mental health. Find someone in your network that you can help during this time. If you don’t feel safe leaving your home, reach out to someone that might be having a hard time emotionally, mentally, or even physically. Right now, the elderly are most at risk. Check in with someone older who might not have been able to get to the grocery store and see how you may be able to help them out. Check in with the single mom or dad who’s not sure what they’ll do with their kids home for two weeks. Use a challenging time like this to find an opportunity.

In a few weeks, hopefully this will all be over and we can go back to a cautious normal. For now, adhere to the CDC’s guidelines to keep yourself healthy and do your best to find the light in the darkness!