Tackling the Next Epidemic Now
More stories are emerging about the next crisis to hit us, mental health issues. Our bubble existence can lead many of us down the wrong path. Isolation can lead to loneliness that leads to depression which intensifies with other chronic conditions and limitations that make life hard.
The emerging mental health epidemic needs our attention. We need to identify and treat the symptoms before it is too late. Here are some recommendations for you and my own attempts at using them.
Turn Off the Bad News
I admit I can get sucked into Breaking News headlines. I feel like Pavlov’s dog when the large red and black letters with urgent music captures my attention. That instant gratification of knowing the breaking news gets me, however, it dulls my sense of optimism with all the tragic messages. I am replacing this with a book, podcast, music and brain games that fill my head with hopeful thoughts.
Catch Some Rays
Take deep breaths of the new air outside your bubble while wearing a.mask, please. Spring is here. Look for signs of new life. No doubt social distancing is essential while outdoors so keep a safe space around you. I feel like the bear coming from hibernation when I step out of my cave and into the bright sun.
Cultivate Trust Relationships
Trust relationships are key to mental health. I recommend you find your sounding board where you can unload the unspoken anxieties that are building up right now. My best friend and I have the Piss and Moan club (for over 20 years now). Our motto is “You can never complain too much. Nothing is too petty. Repetition is expected. Drinking is encouraged.” It is cathartic to know this is the safe space for us.
Audit Your Daily Routine
Most of us have moved our work from the office to home, school to home, gym to home and the list goes on and on. New responsibilities are becoming part of our daily routines. These are big changes to the rhythm of life. How are you coping? Do you feel accountable for your actions now that no one is watching? I can admit it. I have slipped. I can rationalize my shortcoming to myself and get away with it. I think I need to do a time study and have a meeting with human resources (my sarcasm lives on).
Life is Heavy, Good Grief
Do you feel it? Many of us are experiencing loss right now. Grief is overwhelming many aspects of our lives: emotional, physical, financial, social and spiritual. This is the black hole of life right now. The vortex is so strong. You are not alone if you are feeling its gravitational pull. There are no easy answers or quick escapes from this. Please reach out for help. Loneliness is the energy that feeds the intensity this black hole. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
We are in this together. We need each other. We need to fight back now so that our social distancing does not lead to loneliness and depression. We can beat the next epidemic with our positive actions now.