How to prioritize your mental wellness during the pandemic
When COVID-19 first broke out, it seemed as though the entire world had turned upside down. Everything we did before the virus—daily activities we participate in, how we communicate and interact with one another, how we travel—would never be the same again. Feelings of uncertainty and fear resulted from altered daily routines, financial stresses, and social isolation. More than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic started, many people continue to face challenges that are stressful and overwhelming. Although most people are back to school, work, and going out with friends again, many carry the impacts of the pandemic with them. Many still fear that their family members may be affected by the virus now that schools, workplaces, grocery stores and other large public gathering places have reopened. The anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness experienced during the pandemic is natural, but learning effective self care strategies and receiving proper care can help individuals cope.
First, be mindful of your physical health. Getting enough sleep, participating in regular physical activity, eating nutritious foods, avoiding harmful substances, and taking the time to relax can play a huge part in your mental wellbeing. For example, try finding an activity that includes movement, such as dance, or find techniques, such as yoga or reading, that help you relax. This will lower your body’s stress hormones and release endorphins which will reduce feelings of pain and ultimately improve your mood.
Try to reduce stress triggers. Maintain a regular schedule, limit social media which may expose you to inaccurate information about the pandemic, find reliable sources for pandemic news, spend time doing hobbies you enjoy, and choose to focus on the positive things in your life. Reliable sources to help keep up to date on COVID recommendations include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Hobbies you might like include reading books, writing in a journal, crafting, cooking, and many more.
Finally, strengthen relationships and build support. If you go to school or work remotely from home or need to isolate yourself due to COVID, try to find time for virtual socialization by texting or videochat. These are only a few ways to help reduce stress and relax. There are many ways to reduce anxiety and stress, try several methods and find what works for you.
— TJ, Yi and Shradha
The idea of youth voice takes on many forms, including sharing experiences and ideas with policy makers, which many of the young people of Our Tomorrow have done.
However, young people’s experiences and ideas are abundant and we at Our Tomorrow and UP Partnership wanted to create a space for them to share their thoughts on current issues they face around mental wellness. This is a series of blogs that we will share monthly that highlight these experiences, thoughts and opinions. Thank you to The Center for Young Minds and The Ecumenical Center for partnering with us for this initiative.
These thoughts and opinions do not expressly represent the thoughts of UP Partnership, its leadership team or board of directors.