Change is inevitable, and with significant change comes a string of mental, physical, and emotional repercussions. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we think, work, and live, and without keeping a check on your happiness, it is easy to be pulled into a spiral of mental decline that’ll make everything you do seem so much harder. Defeatism is easily bred when one isn’t careful to stay happy, healthy, and well. That’s why we’ve put together a look at five signs that may be indicating that you’re suffering under too much stress. Here are common signs that the coronavirus pandemic is impacting your mental health.
Are you grieving?
Whether or not you’re fully aware of it, you may be grieving from a loss of the life that you were once used to. Look closely at your state of well being to see whether or not you’re feeling a sense of loss for the things that you were used to before COVID-19. It could be aspects of your job, sporting events, things you’d do in or related to relationships, activities that simply aren’t possible anymore, or anything else that’s been gimped by the coronavirus. The only way to overcome grief is to recognize that it is there. Allow yourself to feel the grief without a sense of denial or regret for grieving itself. Work through your emotions, and talk about the issue. Without analyzing the things that you’re struggling with openly, there is no way to let go. The burden will eat at you until you recognize it, accept the grief, allow yourself to feel it, and then let go by realizing the greatness that waits ahead.
Are you using more of a substance than usual?
If the COVID-19 pandemic has made you turn to a substance more than before, then this could be a cause for alarm. Sure, it could be completely normal to have a few more drinks a week due to hosting more Zoom parties as we all get used to the technology, but binging every week is not healthy. Analyze the substances that you use, and it doesn’t need to be limited to alcohol, to see whether you’re using something to compensate for a feeling of lack, boredom, grief, or anger. There are many other activities that can take the place of overconsumption of anything, so substitute and take control of any bad habits that may be affecting your mental health and physical well-being. Any substance that is suddenly becoming a priority is something that requires sincere contemplation. Remember, recognition comes before you can do anything else.
Is your sleep disrupted?
If you’re sleeping weird hours due to nothing other than your routine being off, then you may need to consider whether you’re letting an unhealthy routine take control. Your old routine may no longer work, but this doesn’t mean that you need to spend all your time sleeping. It also doesn’t mean that you’ve got a reason to lay awake endlessly at night. A lack of sleep will impact energy levels, ramp up the effect of stress, trigger irrationality and anger, and detract from the overall enjoyment of life. Not being able to sleep makes it harder to sleep, causing a cycle of ever-worsening problems. On the other hand, sleeping every day away steals vital time that you could be doing things that you enjoy, and things that will better your life and well-being. Just because you don’t have the same work responsibilities, this doesn’t mean that you should fall into the trap of doing nothing. The less you do things, the less you want to. Pay attention to your sleep cycles and keep rest as the sanctuary and retreat that you need to get back to the next day with optimal enthusiasm and peak energy.
Are you beginning to prefer being isolated?
Self-isolation and social distancing play their part, but both are a far sight different from isolating yourself emotionally. If you find yourself growing ever-more reclusive, then this could be a sign that you need to break your current cycle. A lack of physical connection breeds the impression that connecting with others is not worth it. The hassle outweighs the benefit in the mind of someone who has allowed themselves to grow emotionally distant from others. The more time an introvert spends in this emotional place, the easier it becomes for them to remain and retract further into a world of their own. Extroverts, on the other hand, may find the seclusion depressing, which spurs a disregard for wanting to reach out. There’s no energetic reward from the physical interaction, so the effort of connecting becomes far harder itself. Nothing could be further from the truth, as each will find out in time. Sometimes all it takes is one conversation to change your whole mindset and break you out of a funk.
Are you putting far less time and effort into self-care?
Are you showering less frequently? Does make-up seem like a distant memory? How’s that stubble doing? If you’ve stopped practicing regular, healthy, self-gratifying self-care, then you’re probably falling into a spiral of poor habits, and dampened emotional health. Your appearance taking a knock due to letting go of your own expectations of appearance is often the first warning sign that your mood and mental health are beginning to digress. Taking care of your body is, first and foremost, an act of control that helps one feel the legitimate self-esteem that comes with healthy pride. Get dressed into something comfortable but professional. Don’t neglect your hair, and actually get yourself prepared for the day. Self-care isn’t there to make the world ready to see you, it’s to help you see yourself in the way that makes you feel yourself the best. If you’re battling for motivation, then make it. Schedule a virtual happy hour with friends and have drinks via Zoom. Get your church on Google Meet. Facetime your friends. Make the condition, and it’ll show you how to get yourself going.
Change for the better, change for good
If you notice that you’re in a pattern of decline, then it’s time to start making a change. Life is brimming with opportunity, but without hope, all seems hopeless. At times, all that it takes to break free from a self-destructive pattern affecting your emotions, mental health, and choices is to create a new habit, something new to do and strive for. Instead of trying to overcome bad habits, bad thought patterns, and beliefs that no longer serve us, replace them with things that do matter. The COVID-19 virus has forced us all to step out of complacency even to the slightest degree and start purposefully taking control of ourselves, our thoughts, and our emotions. Before we can shift our attitudes, we need to take control by doing things that are different from our normal daily routine. If it’s not working and you notice these mental markers, then start finding new ways to have fun, apply your skills, and seek out difference in every way that you can. Never feel threatened to reach out. From friends and families to business networks built with the help of cutting edge platforms like MyOpportunity, most times, all that it takes is a touch of togetherness to give you a step up and a way out of whatever you’re struggling with.