Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19

covid mental health

As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital that we pay attention to mental health. Over the course of the pandemic, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, grief and depression have become common place. Not only are individuals worried for their physical health and that of their loved ones, they may also be experiencing financial instability, isolation due to social distancing and quarantine measures, or perhaps a sense of hopelessness. It is important to make some adaptations while we hope for brighter and safer days ahead. Doing so can greatly improve and protect your mental health.

Tips For Improving and Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19:

Ask for Help and Seek Mental Health Support

It can be really challenging to reach out and ask for help when you are struggling. While it may not feel comfortable, asking for help when you need it is the most important tip on this list. Asking for help can start small with things like asking a partner to assist you with a task around the house when you feel overwhelmed. Asking for help may also mean contacting a mental health professional for professional mental health support.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or fear that you may, ask for help by utilizing mental health crisis lines and support networks. Here are some crisis lines that you can keep handy:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • The Trevor Project: (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ individuals under the age of 25.) 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline- (Provides treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing mental health or substance use disorders.) 1-800-662-4357
National Helpline
National Helpline

Stay Social

Social distancing measures, while working to keep us safe and protect our health, have left many people feeling isolated and lonely. It is important to maintain social contact as best as you can during this time. Here are some ideas for staying socially connected, while socially distanced:

  • Talk to your friends and family and determine a day and time that is open for everyone. Schedule a weekly video chat to catch up.
  • Find online virtual gaming spaces where you can play games with your friends or family online together. Set up a weekly game night.
  • Where you would normally text, try calling where you are able to instead, so you can have more of a socially connected conversation.
  • Have themed video call “parties”. You and your friends or family can dress up according to the theme, and show off your outfits during the video call. This can be a fun way to get out of your typical routine and comfort zone!

Limit News Intake

It is important to stay informed during this time, to make sure you are taking the proper steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. However, the constant influx of COVID-19 news can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. Limit your news intake if possible by setting a designated amount of time per day, perhaps one hour, to catch up on news. Receive your COVID-19 important news and updates directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, as opposed to watching lengthy news presentations. Limiting your news intake, can be really beneficial to your mental health.


More Coping Skills Tools

Self Esteem and Teens

self esteem and teens

Despite the brooding and the mood swings a teenagers’ self esteem is more fragile than you think.  There are a great many factors that can undermine a teenager’s ability to build their self confidence. For example, factors ranging from academic issues, poor social interaction and dealing with developing one’s own unique identity while trying to avoid the physical awkwardness that puberty brings.  The constant internal struggles they face on daily basis are for us, hopefully, a distant memory because we’ve forgotten what it was like to be their age.

Peers and Self Esteem

Their social circle has a great deal of influence in their lives with the approval and feedback from peers often validating how they feel about themselves, factors which they allow to determine their self esteem and self worth.  It’s incredible how much impact this can really have in the life of your teenager.  This is especially challenging because adolescents peers are not always known for their tact and empathy. Thus, this is why it’s of the utmost importance for your teenagers self esteem to be nurtured and reinforced from within the home.  This will strengthen them to deal with the pitfalls of life out there in the big wide world.  This can come from giving praise and attention from family members, in particular, parents.

It Starts at Home

ego
Family Self Esteem

Positive and nurturing reinforcement in the home is the first step to repairing your teenagers self woth. Never underestimate the power of love. Just because your teenager knows that you love them doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show it. However, such an approach acts as an effective hedge against the factors that erode your teenager’s self esteem.  While it is impossible to change the climate teenagers must face, your teenager’s self esteem will improve with various positive strategies designed to counteract the factors dragging them down.

Model the Change You Wish to See

Another effective tool in the building of your teenagers self esteem is to model good self esteem.  By setting an example of healthy self esteem and respect for yourself will instill the same values in your teenager.  Children learn by example, they tend to imitate what their parents do. This includes both the positive and the negative. However, being a good role model can often be the most powerful lesson of all because you teach by doing.  The next time you get upset, be mindful of your words and your actions. Additionally, be sure to keep an optimistic outlook on life. This outlook helps to create resilience. Your work, will influence how they will manage trials in their adult life.  Also, don’t forget that your children are always watching what you do.

Self Care Planner
Self Esteem Planner

Teamwork and Self Esteem

Allow your teenager to be a contributing member of your family.  Give jobs or chores to perform. Whether it’s the dishes or taking out the garbage, a job helps to cement their role within the family unit. Achieving a sense of belonging and importance is a vital building block in the building of their self esteem.

Conclusion

These are just a few tips that can help build up and strengthen your teenagers self esteem but if you’d like more information, sign up for or newsletter. Also, make an appointment with a coach or therapist.


Soothing Tools

Why LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapists are Important

Ask a Therapist

Why is an affirmative therapist important?

For many people, the process of finding a therapist can feel confusing, but the process of finding a therapist you trust can feel downright daunting. This can be especially true for the LGBTQIA+ community.  (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other sexual, romantic, and gender expansive communities).  The LGBTQIA+ community as a whole faces various health disparities, largely due to higher rates of discrimination in the health care field, which includes mental health. Many individuals have experienced discrimination either first hand or vicariously. Even just the potential for discrimination is enough to deter LGBTQIA+ individuals from seeking mental health care when needed.

Struggles with Mental Health Access and the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQIA+ individuals being deterred from seeking mental health care is particularly troubling due to the fact that this community is exceptionally vulnerable to mental health struggles. The community is more than twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders in their lifetime, compared to heterosexual, cisgender people. It is crucial to point out here that being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is NOT a mental illness or disorder by any means. The way society treats LGBTQIA+ people contributes to the increased vulnerability for mental health struggles. The problem does not lie in their identity, the problem lies in how society often fails to affirm, support, celebrate and love their identity.

What is am Affirmative Therapist?

An affirmative therapist understands the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, and understands the barriers and challenges they face. An affirmative therapist helps to navigate challenges and views mental health struggles from this perspective. They do not make any attempt to change someone’s identity. Affirmative therapists celebrate and support all aspects of identity, and seek to nurture self acceptance. Affirmative therapists view LGBTQIA+ identities as perfectly valid, and reject the idea that being heterosexual and cisgender is the “normal”. 

Why is an affirmative therapist important?

An affirmative therapist can provide a safe, supportive space for individuals struggling with identity. Thus they encourage you to explore gender, sexuality and other aspects of their identity without judgment. Not all  LGBTQIA+ people seek therapy for reasons related to their identity. However, having an affirmative therapist means they don’t have to teach their therapist what it means to be LGBTQIA+. Also, they don’t have to fear judgment when speaking about sex, gender, attraction, relationships, or any part of their story.  This frees an individual to explore themselves fully,. It also allows you to heal pain, to improve mental wellbeing, and to be seen fully and authentically. Having an affirmative therapist means experiencing true, deep empathy and celebration of their authentic, beautiful self. For many LGBTQIA+ people, this can be life changing, and even life saving.


Soothing Tools

Do You Struggle with Anger?

Anger Management

Anger is a normal part of the human emotional experience. However, sometimes how we manage our anger can be destructive. Most people learn how to deal with anger as a normal part of growing up based. Our parents model and teach us these tools. Unfortunately not all people, were modeled or taught healthy anger management tools. Without good emotional regulation tools, anger can become overwhelming.

Own Your Anger

The first important step in managing your emotions, is recognizing that you need some in the first place. This is often the hardest step in anger management recovery. Shame and guilt are negative feelings that are often associated with poor emotion management. It is important not to get caught up in these feelings. Shame can a huge barrier to anger recovery. Accepting personal responsibility and taking steps towards recovery is the best solution to preventing further pain.

Think carefully about your life.

  • Do you often shout at and hurt the ones you love the most?
  • Do your loved ones try to avoid you, maybe leaving the room whenever you enter or going to their bedrooms when you get in from work?
  • Have you had problems at work because you were unable to control your emotions?
  • Have you ever had the police involved in your anger management?

If any of these situations sound familiar, then the chances are that you do have an emotional regulation problem.

Quick And Dirty Tools

There are a number of techniques available which can help you to take control control your frustration. Emotion management can be as simple as acknowledging the problem and mastering some simple emotional regulation techniques. Some of these tools include counting until calm, squeezing ice in your fists and exercise. However, in more severe cases it will be necessary to attend therapy, hire an emotion coach, or attend psycho-educational workshops.

The Next Step Is Yours

Think carefully about your life. Do you often shout at and hurt the ones you love the most? Do your partner and/or children often try to avoid you, maybe leaving the room whenever you enter or going to their bedrooms when you get in from work?  Have you had problems at work, or worse still, with the police, because you allowed your anger to get the better of you?  If any of these situations sound familiar, then the chances are that you do have an anger problem and you need to address it for the sake of you and all those around you.

Anger is a normal part of the human emotional experience. However, sometimes how we manage our anger can be destructive. Most people learn how to deal with anger as a normal part of growing up based. Our parents model and teach us these tools. Unfortunately not all people, were modeled or taught healthy anger management tools. Without good emotional regulation tools, anger can become overwhelming. Angriness may be an issue in your everyday life if you let it be. Not only does it interrupt your work and play, but it may hurt you when you least anticipate it. Anger has an underhanded way of making itself known in the rarest of situations, and most you do not have any control over.