The COVID-19 pandemic has been full of challenges. It’s caused major changes to the way we work, live and take care of ourselves. But it’s also highlighted how important taking care of your mental health is to managing your overall health.
So, what does mental health refer to? It includes the ways we think, feel and act—as well as handle our emotions and stress.
During the pandemic, being faced with so many difficult moments—such as illness, remote work and school, isolation, and for some, grief over the loss of someone close—challenged our ability to handle stress and other strong emotions, stretching many of us to the limit.
An impact to mental health has been a direct result of everything we’ve been faced with, including rising cases of depression, anxiety, loneliness and other concerns. According to a workplace survey from the Harvard Business Review, 76 percent 1 of respondents felt they had at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the last year.
What symptoms should you look out for?
So, how do you know if your mental health is being affected? Signs of depression or anxiety can include:
- Low mood.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Feeling overly tired.
- Trouble sleeping, or restless feelings.
- Withdrawal from friends or family.
When to reach out for support
Some stress and anxiety from daily life can be expected. And when you’re not feeling quite like yourself, there are lots of things you can try on your own to help you cope.
These can include: talking to a friend or relative, getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising, reading a book, listening to music, working on your hobby, meditating or doing yoga. Simply taking breaks to relax, doing breathing exercises or spending time with pets are all good ideas, too.
However, if your symptoms persist—particularly longer than a week—or start to affect your work, relationships or physical health, you may need to reach out for some added support.
You can schedule some time with your primary care doctor or book an appointment with a licensed therapist to get help with treatment.
Check your health benefits for resources you need
If you’re not sure how to connect to mental health resources, checking your existing health plan can be a good place to start. For instance, you can see if your benefits include telehealth, or online and digital resources for counseling with a therapist or gaining support from a health coach.
Make your health a priority
Your mental health is important to your overall health. Taking time to recognize your feelings and talk about them will put you on the path to a happier, healthier way of life.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.