Feelings of Hope During COVID-19

Feeling of Hope: What We Will Never Take For Granted Again

 

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted: 

A handshake with a stranger

 Full shelves at the store

 Conversations with the neighbors

 A crowded theatre

 Friday night out

 The taste of communion

 A routine checkup

 The school rush each morning

 Coffee with a friend

 The stadium roaring

 Each deep breath

 A boring Tuesday

 Life itself

 

When this ends: 

 May we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way, better for each other because of the worst.”

– Laura Kelly Fanucci

 

There is no telling when this global pandemic will come to an end. Millions of us are unemployed, thousands of us are sick, and many of us are fearful of the unknown. We are scared of the virus, terrified of the effects it will have on our economy and our mental health. Many of us are forced to work on the front lines while others have the luxury of staying home. There may never be a return to normal, a new normal is on the horizon, but what is a new normal? Will we always have to wear masks in public? Will we still be bumping elbows instead of shaking hands? Will we always be encouraged to practice social distancing? There are so many unknowns that have driven unwanted fear, hate, anxiety, stress, and sadness. But there is also so much hope that has brought into the world because of this global pandemic. 

 

We have adapted

We have learned to communicate virtually through social media and video conferencing. We have clapped for each other, sang with each other, and cheered for each other on our balconies to communicate, “we are still here.” We have become accustomed to masks in public and keeping our distance, six feet to be exact, as a courtesy to protect others. We have visited our doctors and therapists via computers and phone calls, and we have learned to take advantage of curbside pickup and delivery. Our lives and circumstances have changed drastically, but we have not given up. Instead, we have learned to adapt. 

 

We have come together in community

It is not uncommon to see groceries left on doorsteps, encouraging chalk art on the sidewalks, artwork hanging in windows, people volunteering to run errands for the sick and weak, people donating their time and money to help others. Celebrities have provided free virtual comedy shows, concerts, and entertainment to the public. The rich and famous have donated large sums of money to help develop a vaccine and medications to fight COVID-19. Politicians have fought hard to provide financial cushions, debt forgiveness, and forbearance to those who qualify. Regardless of our gender, social class, or race, we have all been affected either directly or indirectly from this virus. As a result, we have all learned to come together as a community to lend a helping hand and choose hope and happiness

 

We have slowed down

Travel has been postponed, vacations and sporting events canceled, our social calendars have been cleared, and we have been asked to stay home from work and play. We have learned to appreciate the comfort of our homes, the company of our immediate families, and the value of time. We spend more time nourishing our bodies with home-cooked meals and virtual living room workouts. We can now sip our morning coffee with ease, enjoy long conversations with loved ones, take time to read books, listen to music, and watch the seasons change with ease. We are no longer running the rat race, stuck in traffic on the freeway, and trying to “get ahead of the game”. We are slowing down, reflecting, and taking the time we need to rejuvenate our bodies and minds. 

 

We have practiced kindness

Whether its running errands for strangers, dropping off food for our loved one, supporting our front line workers, or donated to those in financial need, so many of us have gone above and beyond to practice kindness during this trying time. Generosity and kindness are beneficial to our happiness and mental health. Kindness is linked inextricably to joy and contentment, at both psychological and spiritual levels. 

 

We have become resilient 

Everyone has been affected by COVID in one-way or another. Whether we have succumbed to physical illness, mental turmoil, or have reaped the financial repercussions from job loss and the economy, COVID-19 has done a number on our society. However, we are still standing. This is not the first time our society has survived a global pandemic, and more than likely, it will not be the last. We have found ways to keep going, even when reality seems grim. We are strong and resilient, and we have shown that through these trying times. We are finding ways to occupy our time, to entertain each other, to connect, and to make ends meet. 

 

We have asked for help

Many of us are stubborn in the sense that we take pride in being independent and strong. Many of us view asking for help as a weakness when, in fact, asking for help is a sign of strength. Asking for help shows humility, reveals the value in teamwork, and shows that we are trying to learn and gain different perspectives. Asking for help, in the long run, makes us smarter, broadens our horizons, and can do wonders for our mental health. Many of us have asked for help during COVID in more ways that one. We have asked for help financially, we have asked strangers, neighbors, and friends for favors and errands, and we have asked for help from our government, family members, frontline workers, and professionals. Sometimes asking for help can be difficult, especially if we are natural leaders, self-sufficient, and strong-willed, but asking for help during COVID has shown the importance of teamwork, humility, and the willingness for change. 

 

 

 

During this trying time, our world has come together to support each other. We have adapted to change, strengthened our communities, offered our helping hands, portrayed kindness, learned to be still, and have become more resilient than ever. It is easy to see the hardships and adverse effects of COVID-19, but even through the darkness, we can still have feelings of hope. Hope for the future, hope for our health, and hope for the next generations to come.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Staying Mentally Healthy During COVID-19

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and self-care, eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health disorders, and educating the public on the importance of routine mental health care. Mental health goes beyond the scope of diagnosing and treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Mental health also includes being aware of our moods, our thought patterns, our social connections, our ability to solve problems, our ability to overcome tricky hurdles, and our ability to comprehend and navigate the world around us.

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Our mental health can positively or negatively affect many areas of our life including our professional life, our home life, our social life, our sleep and eating patterns, our energy levels, our ability to think clearly, and how we feel about ourselves.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to his or her community.”

Our mental health is a fluid state of equilibrium between our innermost workings and the outside environment. 

Taking care of our mental health during a pandemic

For many, COVID-19 has been a trying time. Many of us have struggled with staying home and keeping our distance from our friends and family. Many of us are struggling financially due to the economy shutdown or job loss, and many of us are struggling to find peace amongst this stressful time. We are struggling to find a healthy daily routine, we are struggling to find happiness, and we are struggling to find purpose. There are so many unknowns during this time of uncertainty, which can negatively affect our mental health by leading us to feelings of anxiety, anger, or depression.

We must take care of ourselves both mentally and physically, especially during this trying time.

Ways to practice kindness towards ourselves to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls:

  • Connect with others: Even though we are practicing social distancing and we may feel physically isolated from our friends, family, and neighbors, we can still connect virtually. Staying connected with our friends and family is essential for our well being as healthy social connections are known to improve our mood and boost our self-esteem. There are many great virtual platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and Face Time that can help us connect with our friends, family, and coworkers. Virtual game nights, virtual storytime, virtual birthdays parties, and celebrations are all great ways to stay connected with each other, while still respecting the social distancing orders.
  • Nourish your body: The body and mind are tightly connected, and therefore physical health is a huge component of mental health, especially during stressful times. Learning new recipes, cooking at home, eating nutritious whole foods, daily exercise, drinking plenty of water, and getting eight uninterrupted hours of sleep each night are all crucial ways to nourish our bodies so we can have a healthy mind.
  • Sharpen your mind: While many of us are at home during COVID-19, we may find that we have more free time. We can spend this free time learning a new hobby, reading a book, working on home improvement projects, and completing unfinished tasks. Learning new things, reading, completing puzzles, and working on arts and crafts are all great ways to exercise our brains. Mental stimulation is anything that activates or enriches the mind. Stimulation can be provided internally from thought or externally from the environment. Education, occupation, social and leisure activities are all essential contributors to mental stimulation. Enriching mental activity can help improve our memory and problem-solving skills, which are essential skills to have when we must focus on our mental health.
  •  Continue therapy: Mental health is more than a mental health disorder. It encompasses our thought patterns, our behaviors, our relationships, and our self-esteem. Even if we are not diagnosed with a mental health disorder, many of us can benefit from professional therapy.
  • Maybe we are experiencing a stressful time or a loss in the family. Perhaps we are more sad than usual or are struggling with finding a healthy way to cope. Therapy is an integral part of taking care of our mental health, especially during COVID-19.
  • Adopt a daily routine: Getting into a routine is essential. It helps us focus, helps us stay busy, and helps us be productive. When our habits are thrown off, we can often find ourselves in a rut or feeling bored or depressed. Our daily COVID-19 routine could be much different than before, but it is still important to adopt a regular daily schedule so we can continue to feel good about ourselves.

Seeking help

Our philosophy at Quest 2 Recovery is simple: heal the mind, body, and spirit in a family-like environment. We believe in a holistic approach to treatment, one that caters to each individual’s distinct needs. As a trauma-based treatment program, we believe in resolving the underlying issues that brought the onset of substance use. Our team of clinicians helps each client identify the faulty belief systems stemming from childhood, then psych-educate clients on the symptoms of PTSD to understand and alleviate the power of certain triggers”.