By Mia Gomes
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned so many worlds upside down across the world. Whether you’ve been completely isolated this year, missed out on something big you were looking forward to, or if your schoolwork is piling up more than usual, this year has not been normal for anyone. Evidently, these current events can cause serious mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. To add onto the severity of this year’s mental health crisis, the CDC has said that there have been more deaths from suicide than COVID-19, although it is early for exact statistics. The CDC is also anticipating this year’s suicide rates to be at an all-time high. If you’re wondering how to cope with the symptoms of anxiety and depression, here are just a few ways to relieve them.
Tip #1: Let Go of Negative Energy
There is a dangerous stigma around mental illness, particularly among the younger generations. When others say you’re “overreacting”, “too lazy”, or “arrogant”, there could be an underlying struggle that no one suspects. If this sounds like something you’re going through, know that you are not alone, and there are ways to better yourself during these times. An important and helpful tip is to let go of all of the negative energy that people are surrounding you with. If you let go of other people’s opinions, the next steps to your mental recovery will be much more effective and easier to complete.
Tip #2: Keep Your Eyes on the Future
The first way to cope with depression that many find helpful is creating a vision board. A vision board is a collage, poster board, or bulletin board that showcases your accomplishments, goals, and biggest dreams. It helps to motivate you and keep your eyes on the final goal you want to achieve, which can help with productivity and motivation, which many people with depression tend to struggle with. It’s a small step to take, but it can lead you to a bigger picture and a world of success. If you don’t currently have goals, create them!
Tip #3: Practice Grounding Techniques
Additionally, anxiety and depression can go hand in hand. When anxiety and panic progress and manifest in the body, they can create more violent symptoms, later leading to anxiety attacks and panic attacks. Many people also struggling with this issue have found that grounding techniques can help drastically reduce these issues. A grounding technique is an effective calming method that helps people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks come back to reality. A popular grounding technique is as follows: while you’re experiencing severe anxiety, point out five things you can hear, four things you can see, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This helps you regain control of your body and reclaim your peace of mind.
Tip #4: Seek Help
Whether you’re seeking help at home with self care or calming exercises, the best thing to do for yourself when you’re struggling mentally is seeking help. While it can feel weird to talk about your emotions in an era where mental health is a taboo subject that’s extremely stigmatized, doing so can get you to seek professional help like therapy and medication, which are proven most effective.
Tip #5: Know You’re Not Alone
No matter what, your mental health is important to prioritize in such unprecedented times. If you are in immediate danger and are seriously struggling with no one to help, there are lifelines and immediate resources to help you quickly. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s phone number is 1-800-273-8255. This lifeline is equipped with trained professionals to help anyone at any given time. They have 24/7 services and have helped millions of people with their mental health. There are people everywhere waiting to help you, and you are never alone.
Tip #6: Find Helpful Resources
Additionally, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline also has a website. They provide survivor stories, statistics on suicide and mental health, and plenty of resources besides the phone number itself for people who are struggling to seek help. They are also looking for volunteers at the time to help others. The link to their website can be found here. There are plenty of resources besides this link to help you, like The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth, Mental Health First Aid, and this article from Social Work License Map providing their readers with 60 Digital Resources for Mental Health.