In today’s post I share a little bit about my mental health journey over the past few months. I know for sure that it is safe to say, the past few months have not been easy for anyone. Here are some things I did to help cope over the past few months (and still continue to do).
Mid March my job completely changed. Our programs shut down, our group homes went into lockdown, and I did my best to provide services to my clients virtually. As I adapted to this change I found that some of my clients needed additional services. They needed help understanding and coping with the world that was crumbling around all of us. A little background, I work at a non-profit organization as a Behavior Specialist. I support individuals of all ability levels across various environments: residential, work, day, etc. I started hosting a weekly group “Coffee and Coping” where I did my best to help my clients mange these times… when behind the scenes I was struggling mange it myself!
It was difficult to put on happy face meeting after meeting as if I thought it was all going to be ok. When in reality getting out of bed was a struggle and engaging in activities I throughly enjoyed before, such as reading, became nonexistent. I became quite a hermit and looking back my lockdown feels much like a fever dream. I knew I had to start taking control of myself and here are just some of the things I did.
Set a morning routine.
No longer having a commute kind of rocked my world. I always had this rush of having to get out of the house, but now I just rolled out of bed and hopped onto a meeting. This became problematic. I was no longer making my bed, getting out of my PJs, or doing typical morning type stuff. Setting a routine really helped me start my day feeling accomplished and like I was on the right path for the rest of the day.
Limit use of social media.
I talked about this in yesterdays post, but I was spending way too much time on my phone at the beginning of the pandemic. Endless scrolling is good for no one. By trying new activities and focusing on activities that did not require my phone was very helpful. I started doing puzzles with my husband at the end of the work day and even taught myself how to do needlepoint. These were healthy distractions that also required me to use some brain power.
Set work boundaries.
In a span of 24 hours my work life became combined with my home life. Which was a lot to handle. First, how to be productive in space where my brain has labeled “relaxing”. Then, learning to spend time away from work and not feeling guilty. It was hard to step away for lunch at times or plan just a few moments away from starring at my screen. I did enjoy being able to balance home chores and work… I got really good at folding clothes while actively participating in a work call! The most important thing I did was designate a “work space” and I did my best to only work in that work space and when I was done, I was done. This helped separate my work and home life.
Connect with friends.
Zoom happy hours became the highlight of my week. I spent a few too many mornings hungover after staying up late drinking and chatting virtually with my friends. I made it a priority to check in on my friend and family. My aunt had the great idea of writing cards to everyone – which I loved! Talking with others and knowing we were all going through it together was helpful.
There were days when my yard time only consisted of taking the dogs out. I made sure to start incorporating time outside each day. Short walks, working outside, reading outside, just breathing fresh air! I found this to be really helpful… I think it is really important to get outside each day, no matter the job you have, global pandemic or not.
Meet with a professional.
Sometimes a bubble bath and some fresh air just doesn’t cut it when it comes to mental health. Seeking the help from a professional can be life changing. Group therapy is a great way to connect with others while being able to share experiences, ideas, and still receive the emotional support you need. Ray of Hope Counseling Services can provide that and more! By combing individual counseling and group therapy they are able to offer the support you need to overcome various life challenges. (Currently providing tele-support and online session as well as in-person, while adhering CDC guidelines)
The past few months have rocked us all… but were still here! Please taking your mental health seriously and know there is not shame in reaching out for help! What has helped you cope? Let me know in the comments!