Coping and Covid – Mental Health is just as important as washing hands

Just thinking out thumbs here:

-As social distancing and isolation become a preventative measure, depression and anxiety will follow.

-As social creatures, we need human interaction for our mental health. Those predisposed to depression tend to seek out isolation to deal with their mental torment. Isolation helps depression distort the mind.

-Depression tells you everyone you love will be better off without you, and on and on. It twists and distorts reality to convince you that you are worthless. These are lies of the mind.

-When constant bad news is disbursed, it naturally feeds chemical and situational depression. Anyone can suffer depression in these circumstances. Take breaks from bad news!!! Focus on the good. “Find the helpers”

-The hopelessness that depression can feed is like spending your days swimming in a concrete bathing suit. Often, you don’t know you’re even depressed. It’s like someone turned the light off on happiness and you’re wondering why it’s dark while believing it’s all your fault and you deserve it anyway. All Of these are lies, distortions of the mind, and not you.

-Talking out loud: verbally to another helps you see distorted thinking. Journaling can help too, but speaking your mind is where you can see the twists and irrationality.

-as a health crisis rises, mental health crises will follow. As people feel safety and security are compromised, anxiety will be an inevitable consequence.

-there are a finite number of beds in mental hospitals and a finite number of workers. The last time I was hospitalized, the flu was going around. The staff at Horsham Clinic was decimated. This resulted in fewer beds, longer wait times, and a lot of really scared and really sick people. I basically sat in the waiting room
To be admitted and waiting on the floor to go to my bed for 12 hours. I was having a panic attack the entire time and couldn’t get any medicine because no doctor had seen me yet. I was hyperventilating for hours and it wasn’t until I literally fainted in front of the nurses stand did I get essentially pharmaceutical Benadryl to knock me out ‘cause they could only give me that or Tylenol.

-it’s not enough to focus on physical health. Stress, anxiety, depression all erode your immunity quicker than anything else which makes you susceptible to everything.

-any practice to support your mental health will pay off mightily. Meditation can be practiced anywhere, at any time. You can walk and meditate, clean and meditate, dance and meditate. Sit, lay down, sit on a chair and meditate. There are tons of apps, videos and guides on YouTube, and Spotify. Guided meditation is often easiest for beginners. Yoga nidra is a form of meditation where you lie down and it rejuvenates from a subconscious level. 40 minutes of yoga nidra can be like 4 hours of deep sleep.

-journaling helps to take fear, worry, and rumination and make it black and white. Often, a short list of what is bothering you can help transition out of rumination because what is “so big on the inside” isn’t that big when you see it “on the outside”

-gratitude is an armor against insanity. If you need to shift out of a mindset that is hurting you, begin with gratitude. Even in all of this – you’re healthy, you have a home, you have family, the list can grow exponentially in a few minutes of focus and it can shift you away from so much so quickly.

-breathing exercises can calm anxiety. Any focused, intentioned breathing can help shift out of rumination, worry, and depression. Not to mention anger, fear, etc. as a mom with 3 kids, the power of breath has saved me a lot of melt downs I would regret later.

-sunshine, nature, and grounding (especially barefoot in the grass) or gardening all help to connect with nature, and help release the good chemicals in your brain. Exercise and yoga also help. But even standing out back barefoot and letting the sun hit your skin can help the brain cope.

-it is so easy to hide mental illness in text. Depression hides behind emojis and exclamation points. If you are a person who struggles, or you have people who struggle: text is not enough. I can tell you I’m doing great while I’m contemplating hurting myself. Hearing and seeing your loved ones tells much more than “everything’s great! 😊 u??” Call or FaceTime or Skype or whatever your people. Check in, check up, tell your people you love them. Send a random letter or postcard for no reason beyond connection. Facebook, text messages, emails are all how we can hide from each other and delude ourselves that we have connection when we are all on islands of our own mind.

-don’t be scared to tell someone you’re not okay. It’s okay to not be okay. Your emotions aren’t wrong, but your brain can lie. Does lie. Will lie. You don’t have to listen to your mind. You are not your thoughts – the good ones or the bad ones.

-we cannot pour from empty pitchers. Take care of yourself first. Mindfully tell yourself: I’m taking this five minutes for me. This helps keep you focused on health. Try not to focus on problems. We create what we focus on.

-if an airplane was crashing: you put your oxygen masks on first so you can help others with theirs. If you pass out due to lack of oxygen: you cannot help anyone else. Take care of yourself first. Set the example for your kids that moms and dads need to take care of themselves so that kids learn to take care of themselves.

-It’s not just washing hands. It’s self care, love, kindness, and patience. Give it to yourself, so you can give it to others.

-if you need an ear, I am here.

-remember: the only thing crazy is believing you are crazy. Just like lungs can get sick and infected, our minds can too. Constant bad news, fear, etc is like breathing in depression. It is okay to not be okay! Listen to your body. Listen to your emotions. Talk about it.

-if someone is talking about it, just listen. That’s all we need. Listen. Don’t judge, don’t give advice unless asked. Validate and listen.

-be well

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