Overcoming The Covid Challenges of 2020
We probably don’t have to tell you that 2020 has been a challenging year for mental health. Our clients, our friends, our families, and all of us here at The Truism Center have had to find ways to cope with new and unpredictable stressors to their mental health during Covid-19.
Maybe you’ve had to quarantine alone and face day after day of solitude, or maybe you quarantined with a partner and had to learn how to get along with almost no personal space. Maybe you’ve had to work all day under a mask, face to face with people who didn’t always respect social distancing. Maybe you’ve started working from home and have found it difficult to focus without a “workplace environment.” Maybe your anxiety about the future has been at an all time high. Maybe you have young children (enough said).
Whatever your personal struggles this year, it seems a pretty reasonable assumption that you have struggled. No one, even the most balanced among us, is likely to escape the impact of a global pandemic. But we’re not here to throw a pity party for you.
We are here to congratulate you. If you’re reading this then you made it through a difficult year. Whether you feel like a success or a failure—you’re still here, which means things can always look up. There are no guarantees for 2021 (sorry, 2020 haters—it’s just a number) but that doesn’t mean we can’t be optimistic. In this article we’ll look at 6 Lessons To Take Into 2021.
Six Lessons We Learned From Covid In 2020
6. Coronavirus Is Still here But So Are You
Believe it or not, this is a big success and something you can learn from. No matter how difficult things have felt this year you are still here. If there’s one thing we see a lot of at The Truism Center, it’s the resiliency of the human spirit. We get to watch people transform from barely surviving to totally thriving! If you’re still breathing you are still in the game. You can make a comeback. You can still achieve your dreams.
Of course many of us lost people near and dear to us this year. This doesn’t make them any less, or make the loss any less difficult to navigate. It’s OK to be sad for those who didn’t make it through 2020. It’s also OK for you to succeed in your life—and you still have time.
It’ll take more than a global pandemic to stop you.
5. Don’t Punish Yourself For Wasted Time
OK so maybe you didn’t nail your goals in 2020. Maybe your coping mechanisms involved copious amounts of Netflix. Maybe you spent more time in bed than out. Maybe you reignited an addictive passion for video games, or managed to burn through the world’s supply of trashy romance novels. Maybe it wasn’t so funny as much as it was dark. That’s OK.
You can move past it. And feeling guilty about it isn’t going to help.
If you are struggling with guilt about your lack of productivity in 2020, don’t worry. Guilt is a normal human emotion. Try identifying why you feel guilty. Then imagine you are standing in front of yourself and apologize out loud for whatever you feel guilty about. Forgive yourself. Rinse and repeat with anyone else you may have harmed with your actions (1. apologize to imaginary them, 2. imagine them forgiving you, 3. imagine they apologize to you and 4. forgive them).
Practicing forgiveness like this from time to time can be very rewarding and make it easier to handle your future mistakes with grace.
4. The Grass Is Definitely Greener
Compare yourself to others much? Even before the year of social isolation experts were saying that social media has a net negative impact on mental health. During Covid-19 it’s only gotten worse. We all need validation and positive reinforcement from our community, and social media exploits this to create an addictive dopamine loop similar to gambling.
Our isolation has exacerbated the issue. Not only are people more likely to post positive things from their life on social media, when we compare ourselves to others we are more likely to focus on their strengths and achievements. This means that in the time when we feel like we need social media most, it’s also the most dangerous to our self-esteem and mental health.
During Coronavirus (and also beyond the pandemic) it may be very helpful to set boundaries around social media. Try limiting your social media time, or posting less, or even deleting it for a month and seeing how that feels. If you miss your friends, remember you can always call them. It’s likely to be a whole lot more rewarding.
3. You Can Call Your Friends And Family
On that subject—2020 was the year of Zoom. Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, whatever your preference there’s a good chance you spent more time on online face-to-face than ever before in 2020. If you didn’t, you should consider it.
Studies have shown that the strength of your social support is highly correlated with mental health. And while social media mostly doesn’t help create a feeling of social support, phone calls and video calls definitely do.
It may be harder than ever to plan real life get-togethers, but it seems somehow easier to reach out to friends or family that are long distance. If there’s one things we’ve learned is beneficial to mental health during Covid, it’s family and friends.
2. Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In
We live in a world of information. With a constant stream of news always at our fingertips it can be tempting to learn as much as possible about what is going on in the world. During a pandemic when it seems just about anything can happen (aliens 2021 anyone?) it’s easy to become utterly addicted to a newsfeed.
While it is important to be informed about what’s going on around you, it is equally important to take a break from overly negative and often sensationalized news. We recommend you give yourself at least an entire day off each week to recharge and drop into your body. Bundle up and go for a walk in the woods, do some yoga, or take a long bath. Take some deep breaths and try to relax. Whatever you do, enjoy your surroundings and put thinking aside for a little bit.
1. Don’t Do It Alone
You don’t need to manage your mental health all alone. In the midst of a global pandemic there are still many resources available to support your mental health.
Working with a therapist can help you get to the root cause of your suffering, as well as help you develop powerful tools so you can improve your situation and cope with life’s ups and downs for years to come. You don’t have to stay in therapy forever, but the benefits will last a lifetime.
You can find out more by calling us at (616) 499-7711 to speak to someone right now, or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need more immediate help, reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat for a lifeline, and help finding resources that fit your needs.
You may be quarantining by yourself but if there’s one thing we should take away from 2020, it’s that we are never alone in this. We at the Truism Center wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!