We live in socially, politically, and emotionally turbulent times. The COVID-19 crisis upended our lives seemingly overnight, the United States saw so much social and racial turmoil, and now we are contending with a war that might bring about devastating consequences for the average citizen and not the global leaders making decisions. We have the added stress of seeing all of these things go down in real-time thanks to the internet, and there is no denying that if we don’t protect ourselves, we run the risk of experiencing anxiety and complex trauma and their extremely challenging symptoms.
Now more than ever, we need to be proactive in protecting our mental health and general well-being, especially if we want to survive to see better days. It’s easier said than done, but as long as we know the help and resources available to us, and as long as we go through it together, it’s not impossible.
Here are some essential pointers for caring for your mental health and entire well-being during these most difficult times:
Know your triggers
When we are struggling with our mental health, it’s not the easiest thing to pinpoint what may have triggered it. But determining your triggers will ultimately help you understand yourself better and what you can watch out for so that the next time it happens, you have the tools that you need so that you don’t completely fall apart.
Here are some examples of external factors that might trigger a mental health dip or episode:
- Watching the news and seeing people suffering
- Financial problems and not being able to keep your head above water
- Stress from work or broken relationships
- Overworking and fatigue
- Changes in weather and temperature
- Natural disasters that cause loss of life or property
- Losing a loved one, both due to death or a break in the connection
- Physiological factors or hormonal imbalances
These are just some examples—you would be surprised about how many can trigger an episode of depression or anxiety. Consider speaking with your doctor or therapist if you have one to help you determine what your biggest triggers are so that you can be armed with the tools that you need to protect yourself.
Make use of every resource available to you
One of the things that can aggravate our stress during times of global turmoil is our financial stability or lack thereof. And even if we are financially stable, there’s still the possibility of our financial life being affected by world events, since prices will soar, the global supply chain will be negatively affected, and consumers or clients might decide they don’t need our products or services anymore. Being overwhelmed by debt can also be a huge trigger.
Consider consulting with a debt relief attorney or an experienced tenant lawyer if you are struggling to pay your bills or stay afloat financially. They can help you get started on your path to financial recovery, especially during these most difficult times. You don’t have to go through it alone; a legal professional who specializes in finances can help you wiggle your way out of a sticky financial situation.
If the first thing you do every time you wake up is to check Twitter to see developments, then that might not be the best use of your mornings. You would be starting your day on the wrong foot because you would be anxious over what’s happening in Europe. While it’s important that we stay informed and educated on what’s happening, we need to set boundaries on what we learn and when and how we learn about it.
Start your day meditating or praying—whatever your faith or spirituality might be. Stretch or do cardio for about fifteen minutes. Take a relaxing shower, and have a healthy and hearty breakfast. And then read the news. Make sure you are in the best possible condition before you consume the headlines. It won’t make you numb to the reality of the situation, but you would at least feel a bit more stable and stronger before you read the updates.
Find ways to help
And lastly, one of the best things we can do not just for ourselves but also for others is to find ways to help. Whether it’s through a monetary donation or offering your time, energy, and skills as a volunteer, you would be doing your mental health—and the oppressed—a world of good. Research shows that volunteering has a lot of health benefits, so consider doing this for yourself too.
Beyond hopeful platitudes, we will truly get through this together. Light will always triumph over the dark, so hold on and keep the faith until the storm passes.