Updated: May 10, 2022
By Carolina Boyd, Communications Associate
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Observed since 1949, the event helps to promote mental health education and support, with the goal of decreasing the stigma that is so often associated with mental illness. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans were experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety and heightened levels of depression. However, the pandemic exacerbated those conditions,
That is why it is still important to prioritize your mental wellbeing. Here are some ways that can help:
- Practice mindfulness. As you navigate a more open, social world, continue to take time for yourself. Be sure to avoid critical self-talk and practice self-compassion.
- Listen to your brain. Spend time being aware of your comfort level in different situations. Recognize if situations and people either drain or give you energy.
- Take things slowly. Be mindful of feeling too much pressure to do everything and see everyone all at once. Find a pace that feels right for you.
- Commit to non-digital self-care. Most of us significantly increased our screen time during the pandemic. Find meaningful ways to spend time away from social media like reading, volunteering and/or exercise.
- “Cope ahead.”Have a plan in place that includes ways to reduce stress. Work on implementing these techniques by envisioning various post-pandemic activities and rehearsing the thoughts and actions you would implement to cope effectively.
- Know when to seek professional help. Talking to a qualified behavioral health professional can help you gain a fresh perspective in finding effective solutions for easing back into your post-pandemic routine.
The pandemic was traumatic for everyone. Experiencing a mix of feelings and reactions is to be expected. So be kind to yourself and those around you. If you’re concerned about your mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice. Consult your primary care doctor or make an appointment with a mental health professional.