12 Tips For Better Handling COVID-19 Mentally
There are many fighting it physically, but most are fighting a mental battle… and losing.
In the past few months, this pandemic has evolved into a war zone. By the end, we’re not going to be at risk of PTSD, however, the word war is synonymous with massive and drastic changes.
PTSD is the most prominent mental condition amongst veterans, but even the ones who get through it all and not develop this condition leave the war zone with valuable insight.
They see the world differently. They see people differently.
This is all happening to us where we are working through and striving to get through this pandemic. This war zone that has now become our life.
Of course, there are several of us who are fighting the virus physically, but the vast population in lockdown is fighting a mental battle. Staving off boredom amongst several other things.
And in terms of the overall mental battle, I think many people are losing it based upon the tips I’m giving and what I’ve seen over the course of this lockdown.
Follow The Health Guidelines
Practice social distancing, avoid large crowds of people, wash your hands thoroughly, and if you’re sick, stay at home. You’ve heard this all before.
In the early stages of this pandemic, people were not at all following this. I can understand that. Change is slow to adopt in people's lives. Especially if that change is literally forcing yourself to be anti-social for extended periods of time.
However, in my hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick, there are still several people not following this.
My roommate works at a convenience store and still sees people coming in buying a few snacks during his shifts. The university campus was recently closed down due to people walking around campus — which is okay— though also stopping to talk to people five inches away from their faces.
The list of examples in my town can be extensive though at the same time we’ve been lucky to not have another case for a good week now. It’s getting to the point where the town is considering opening up hair salons and barbershops under strict conditions next week.
But that’s not a reason for the town to be returning back to its original state. We should still be following the guidelines put in place as they are clearly working.
Stop Crafting Conspiracy Theories
My roommate has also had a fair share of people coming in sharing their own conspiracy theories. From China spreading this on purpose to Russia doing sneaky things.
I myself read a Facebook comment stating Bill Gates is out to get us all along with other “evil corporations.”
To some extent these theories are correct.
There are bad corporations.
Russia has done a number of shady things both internally and externally.
China themselves have mixed actions and intentions with handling this pandemic and with their agenda for the world.
But what people are doing is using those facts and information as grounds to create conspiracy theories. Like every business is out to get them.
The truth is they’re not and it’s merely you overthinking this entire situation. Again, that doesn’t mean the theories at least partially aren’t incorrect. There are facts there. But the twisting of those facts to project larger scale theories and painting the world darker than it is the problem.
To me, this only creates more worry and panic in a world that is in a state of minor/mild panic and worry. If we are to heal and get through this, it’s important that we don’t overthink every fact or piece of information we stumble upon.
Don’t Be A Jerk
You can insert a more colourful word than jerk in there and it’s still all the same. But what defines a jerk in this situation?
Well for me it comes down to how you’re going about this pandemic and how you are treating people around you.
The thing is we’re all in this together and we all have to suffer in this together. Yes, there are definitely some people who are handling this situation in the worst possible way. Those people are what I call jerks. They are only extending the duration of this lockdown and the virus.
This definition also extends to those being generally hateful or racist towards large groups of people. Even if there are specific parties responsible for various things one has said and done, you’re a jerk if you’re painting everyone with the same brush.
For example, I spoke with someone who blamed the entirety of China for how the Chinese government acted both internally and on the world scale. I agree that what China has done shouldn’t be swept under the rug, but it’s important to direct anger and frustration and blame at the specific groups.
Similar to war, we don’t blame an entire country for the actions of a faction within that country. It certainly changes how we engage with a country in some capacity, but that’s still not grounds to be hateful or racist.
We are in this situation due to a series of choices and decisions that have led us to this point. There was no way people could’ve predicted this, but we have to lay in the bed we made and make the most of it. I think that being hateful and generally being a jerk isn’t going to help anyone in this situation. It’s merely spreading more negativity that isn’t necessary right now.
Pause & Reflect
This pandemic has exposed multiple aspects. This pandemic has put our medical systems to the test. It’s also challenged government both federal, municipal, and local. But it’s also challenged us as overall people.
How do we respond to a pandemic that has changed our very way of life? Simple. We adapt and form a new life.
Change is an inevitable force but it also reflects our personality and how we wish to identify ourselves. The decisions that we make and what we gravitate towards reflect our priorities to some extent.
Mind you, there are transition periods and those periods can take a long time, but now that we’re approaching two months into this lockdown, people are reflecting who they truly are.
The beauty of being a human though is that we can change. If we’re not happy with how we’ve been going about our lives, we can easily make changes. Up to this point, I haven’t been that active and it’s only been a few days I’ve started to get back into working out. I’ve also been steadily adding more tasks for me to do and new ideas along with generally motivating myself to do different things.
The thing is, we’re only able to do that if we note our behaviour and reflect on it. Are you happy with who you are right now and how you’ve been handling yourself during this pandemic? What is your reasoning behind your answer?
This pandemic has exposed several things but more importantly who we are right now. After all, even though this pandemic has changed us, a lot of who we were before this pandemic hasn’t changed.
Put Money Into Savings
The economy has been on a decline, but I feel it’ll catch itself soon once people get their stimulus cheques and begin to spend more money. And even though we are putting money back into the economy, I feel it’s going to take much longer for everything to come back to its previous state.
With social distancing being encouraged for at least 2022, the remnants of COVID-19 may very well linger long after we have a vaccine. I believe that social distancing — while sensible — is what is hurting brick-and-mortar businesses the most.
Especially considering those very same businesses have switched to online ordering and physical pick-up which has been very helpful.
Point is that the economy will take a long time to recover so I think it makes sense, for now, to be putting whatever leftover money you get from your stimulus cheque into a savings account.
A pandemic is a great time to be putting money away as interest hasn’t tanked. If you’re someone who invests in the stock market, it’s also smart to do this if you haven’t been doing so.
Find Content That Makes You Happy
One thing I’ve been harping on is the amount of negativity. I check my Facebook feed and I read about people getting evicted, complaining about COVID mixed in with Tai Lopez and several other people selling me a course on social media marketing.
For me, my feed is filled with either business-oriented content or people going through rough times in these rougher times. It’s disheartening, but these days it’s important that we are checking our own mood.
After all, anger leads to hatred and that can turn us into a spiteful individual bordering on being racist or complaining about this problem while making this problem persist. On the flip side, worry can lead to us being paranoid.
All of our emotions are connected in some way and form a massive web. At it’s center is a core emotion influencing it all. With that in mind, I think it’s important that we make our core as positive as we can.
That’s not to positive COVID 19 away similar to how a certain someone I hear about in the news tries to practice, but positive enough that we’re not turning into paranoid and hateful people who are on the verge of making posts and videos that make us into racist bigots.
Instead, I would encourage you to do some positive things. Read some positive news, especially about the progress on COVID since that’s on many people's minds.
Distract yourself with the multitude of fun and exciting video games that have launched in recent months.
Go out for a walk around town.
Or watch some Youtube videos or a Twitch streamer.
Do something that makes you feel happy.
Show Gratitude Towards Others, But Don’t Flatter
This pandemic has called for various people to their service. Health care providers, medical researchers, grocery and convenience store clerks, and more.
While we should be thankful for these individuals, I remind myself of Dale Carnegie’s advice on avoiding flattery. I say this because the experiences that some grocery clerks are experiencing feels unwarranted.
Calling Me a Hero Only Makes You Feel Better
Once we were all gathered in the back, seated on overturned milk crates, my boss removed a folded-up piece of paper…
In the article above, a grocery clerk recounts the experience of being essential but being placed on a pedestal because of their service. But at the same time, if we weren’t in a pandemic, we probably wouldn’t notice these people.
Unless of course, you were someone who expresses gratitude for grocery clerks before this pandemic.
There’s already talk about having parades for these individuals as a sign of gratitude, but I honestly feel most are saying this so they feel better about themselves.
Over time I’ve come to learn that those at the bottom are exploited the most and aren’t even noticed. They are what keep many businesses operational and yet they’re not even noticed. They are the “grunts” of the business and are merely a resource for many other people's gains.
I see throwing a parade as nothing but flattery. It’s empty. Many people in these positions right now would gladly trade their position since they are putting themselves and those who are living with them at massive risk by doing their job.
Don’t throw a parade for them. Start treating them as people now and people after all of this is said and done. And give these people a raise.
Outside of that group of people, it’s also smart to be showing gratitude towards other people. Reach out and chat with people and thank them for connecting or chatting.
Consider What You Want To Work Towards
Now is the best time for us to be doing something incredible. Or working on goals that we want to be achieving. After all those give us meaning and make us happy since it’s something we are passionate for.
Before getting to that, it’s important for us to identify what we wish to work towards. For that, you’ll need to pause and reflect and consider what habits you want to develop moving forward.
With the world standing still for the most part, you can get to work on something you’ve been putting off for a long time.
Getting yourself into a working mood is also key because eventually businesses are going to open again and we’ll be coming back to our lives before this pandemic. If you’ve spent this entire time scraping the bottom of the barrel of Prime Video and Netflix TV Series, suddenly having to work can be disorienting.
Mind you this project doesn’t mean you need to sink 40 hours a week but getting into the habit of doing more than just sitting and watching TV all day is better.
Go For A Walk….
I’ve mentioned this briefly but seriously go for a walk sometime if you are able to. While general loitering and going to parks is prohibited, you can still walk around your neighbourhood so long as you are practicing social distancing.
You won’t be stopped if you are walking for your health. Considering this is a respiratory disease, working out our lungs to strengthen them helps and is tolerated.
Outside of that, walking also provides many other benefits. The biggest is we get some fresh air and avoid getting cabin fever.
…. And Call Up Someone
On top of walking though, I’d also call someone. Whether it’s during the walking session or after it doesn’t matter. Even with social distancing in place, it’s important that we maintain some form of social contact.
Since the lockdown, I’ve been calling my parents every Sunday. It gives me something to be looking forward to and knocks some sense into me as my dad or my mom share some words of wisdom. It’s through them I learned about Canada’s stimulus cheque which helps me considering my monthly earnings have been diminished significantly.
Anyway having these conversations can help us directly with our lives but it also mentally stabilizes ourselves. As much as I enjoy being around my roommate — my cousin and close friend — it is nice to be talking to someone else and connecting with other individuals as well.
Calling up someone you care about during this time shows that you care about the connection. Or in some cases maybe you reflected on yourself and wonder why you stopped talking to someone. I find myself reaching out on Facebook and connecting with high school and university friends recently and seeing how they’re handling things.
Do Something Fun & Exciting
Even during lockdown, there are so many things that we can be doing. Over the past few months, I’ve seen people come up with creative ideas.
Music performers have started to host stream concerts.
I’ve heard couples hosting date nights in their home to mix things up.
The key is to bring back a sense of normalcy or routine to your life in some fashion but still make it fun and exciting. Recently I find myself sinking hours upon hours into Animal Crossing New Horizons. This is my first genuine Animal Crossing experience. Furthermore, this is the first time in seven years since I’ve owned a gaming counsel.
Cherish The Small Things
My last piece of advice for surviving this pandemic mentally speaking is to cherish the small things.
Remember the grocery clerks? Make sure you say thank you and have a genuine smile. That’s all that’s needed.
Take some time now to reach out to friends and family and speak with them often. Re-connect with them and rebuild those bonds if possible. Plan out something to do together after all of this is over as it gives you something to look forward to.
Cherish the time that you have right now and try to make it more meaningful and impactful to you and those around you. Work on something that means something to you and have been putting off because life is getting in the way.
Well right now, life is at a crawl so take some time to sow something and cherish this opportunity.
This pandemic is pushing us to make drastic changes to our lives and it’s up to us to determine what those changes are and how they will impact us for the now and in the future. By preparing ourselves mentally, you can be certain that these changes are good for you now and in the future.