In 2020, Covid was new. We thought we might be home for just a couple of weeks. Those two weeks turned into a couple of months, which turned into 2021. And now, we’re in 2022, and the pandemic is still ongoing. What about pandemic mental health?
Taking care of mental health fell on the back burner for many of us. We needed to survive, and that took up the energy that we would typically use for self-care. 2 years later, we’re starting to feel the effects of that.
Do things feel directionless or purposeless? Maybe it’s burnout you’re feeling or perhaps a lack of motivation. Or is it increased anxiety? Sadness? Depression?
It has been hard to take care of your emotional and mental well-being. It feels especially hard if you’re still working from home. But not taking care of these parts of yourself is not sustainable. You can’t keep waiting for the pandemic to end before starting to take care of yourself. Ignoring your mental and emotional health will have long-lasting negative effects. It’s important to manage your pandemic mental health.
So where can you start?
1. Separate your workspace from your “rest of life” space.
- Even if it’s just a corner of your room or a section of your dining table, intentionally use that space as your work zone and nothing else. It’s vital to designate proper spaces for work and life while you’re still working from home. Organizing your space in this way can help reduce the stress of feeling like your office has taken over your home.
2. Pause and mindfully take note of how you are feeling.
- You know you feel “off” or “not yourself,” but what does that mean? Are you feeling down? Are you feeling stressed constantly? Are you feeling apathetic? Tune in with yourself and acknowledge your feelings.
3. Identify one enjoyable activity that you can begin engaging with regularly.
- What brought you joy or gave you a sense of purpose pre-pandemic? Is there just one thing that you can begin reengaging with as a way to reinspire, reinvigorate, recharge yourself? Whether monthly, weekly, or even daily, start with just one thing you can begin to reconnect with – maybe something lost during the pandemic.
It can feel impossible to know where to start as you consider taking care of your mental health, whether for the first time or the hundredth time. Start with small, manageable steps and slowly build upon those intentional habits – whether it’s separating your work life from your home life, pausing to acknowledge how you’re feeling, or reengaging with things you once loved. Begin taking care of yourself during this time when things continue to remain in flux and unpredictable.