Social support is crucial to mental health and resilience, and can potentially make the difference in managing this pandemic and all that accompanies it well – or circling into maladaptive coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, binge eating and gambling. Core to friendships is trust, and if we aren’t honest about how we’re coping, our friends and loved ones won’t know when we need help.
Mental health is health, and without health, the rest of what we have is very difficult to enjoy.
Below are a few strategies to increase your PPE (personal protective equipment) for your mental health.
- Cultivate and maintain a network of support. This can include friends, family or professional counselors, and preferably people who have your best interests at heart and are able to be lovingly present and honest with you.
- Be mindful of the internal dialogue in your head. Are you hard on yourself, calling out only the negative aspects of life, or ruminating on the difficulties? Practice mindful thought discipline if you find yourself going ‘there’ too often.
- Watch your news feed. How do you feel after scrolling through social media or the news? If you are excessively angry, sad or upset, ask yourself how much is good for you, or necessary, and take a hiatus when you need to.
- Remember to fill your cup. Ongoing stressors can put us over the edge. Be conscious of these issues and find a balance to re-center yourself with self-care.
- Be gentle with yourself. These are extraordinary times, and it’s ok to not be all the way ok.
- Give yourself permission to ask for help when you need it.
If you are experiencing psychological distress that is altering your quality of life, or are using maladaptive coping strategies, please seek professional care.
We will get through this time, together.