We’ve talked a lot about mental health for the last year and a half, especially in the early months of COVID-19 and its impending isolation. During the pandemic, there have been heightened levels of fear, anxiety, and depression causing an increase in mental health concerns. Understanding your own mental health is still just as important as always. October 10 is World Mental Health Awareness Day and you may not have the resources or feel comfortable seeking regular one-on-one therapy, but there are other ways to understand and appreciate your mental state.
Exercise. This doesn’t have to look like a marathon training session; even a ten-minute neighborhood walk or a short, streaming yoga session can jump-start endorphins and leave you in a better mood. Additionally, just 10 minutes in nature can improve your mental health so get moving outside!
Journal, mediation, prayer, sitting in silence. Turn everything off for a few minutes, take some deep breaths and let your mind shut off. Even just 60 seconds of cleansing breaths can slow your heart rate and hopefully bring a smile to your face.
Talk to a friend. Sometimes just chatting with one extra person a day can make you feel more connected to your community. Call, text, send an email or plan an outdoor visit with a friend, neighbor, or family member.
Allow yourself grace. You won’t be perfect every day. COVID-19 and its implications are well beyond your control, so don’t let it overwhelm you. COVID Anxiety Syndrome was recently written about on verywellmind. With the rise of the delta variant, you may find yourself with similar symptoms. To cope, it’s suggested that you take your ‘return to normalcy’ slowly, turn off the news, and practice self-care to name a few.
Online therapy. Ask your trusted friends or primary care doctors for some referrals if you want to try therapy. Most therapists are offering online sessions for COVID-19 protocols, and it also helps for the busy parent trying to squeeze in therapy while at home. This can also include group therapy which may be more budget-friendly. Trained professionals can help you develop the necessary tools to flush out anxiety on your own.
Find a hobby. Even if you aren’t an artist, writer, or musician, you may be calmed by the quiet nature of the hobby. Cooking, baking, or sewing can clear your mind and you have a fun, finished results like a yummy dinner or a pie.
If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to a doctor, counselor or another loved one. The National Helpline Database on verywellmind is a good place to start. The Child Mind Institute offers a symptom checker and a list of developmental milestones to reference if you are worried about your children.
Youth Villages’ Crisis Services can help guide you to the best professional for your child’s needs, under the age of 18. We also have a checklist of potentially risky behaviors on our website you can reference for yourself or your kids.
Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org.
Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. For resources on coping with mental health struggles, visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline or National Alliance for Mental Illness.