It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging on multiple fronts, and is affecting the mental health of a lot of us. For many, spring and early summer (with continuing vaccine rollouts and decreasing case counts), initiated a temporary respite. For a while, it seemed that pandemic-related anxiety had finally started to subside. Lately, the delta variant, seemingly constant changes in CDC guidelines, new waves of transmission and the overall duration of the pandemic, is, once again, raising anxiety and angst.
As human beings, we tend to crave control and routine. There is nothing wrong with this and most therapists would say that this is healthy. The challenge, of late, has been that the pandemic has caused us to lose some of our sense of control. And when we feel like we lose control of our lives, it can cause stress and anxiety. Most of us are facing increased stressors, at least on some level. But, for those of us who have already been operating in stressful environments or have been dealing with anxiety and depression, the pandemic is exacerbating these feelings.
Another unique challenge posed by the pandemic is that many of us have learned to cope with anxiety and stress by seeking comfort by being around others, getting out of the house, visiting friends, staying busy, etc. The pandemic does not always allow us to be physically around others as much. All of the activities mentioned are still possible, but we have to be a bit creative. As a therapist, I often get asked for tips to maintain strong and positive mental health.
Even with talk of the delta variant and possible uptick in cases next flu season, it is important to remember that this pandemic won’t last forever. As your world and routine begin to open up, my advice to you is to take it slow. Give yourself the time to adjust (or re-adjust) to the new normal, whatever that may be. Try to keep balance. Don’t feel like you have to take on everything at once and switch completely back to your exact life and schedule from March of 2020. Try to continue some of the positive habits that you’ve developed during the pandemic.
*The Women’s Center is not compensated by nor is it promoting any of these applications or resources.