When the pandemic struck the country back in 2020, we were all unprepared. The resulting lock down which was meant to stop the spread of the disease somehow managed to slow down the advance of the pandemic. However, this came at a cost due to the fact that many people loss their jobs with some businesses closing down.
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our lives would be an understatement considering how things have unfolded. The majority of us have been confronted with several challenges that have been both strenuous and overwhelming .
One of the measures that were undertaken so as to contain the pandemic was social distancing. However, in as much as it is a necessary measure, it can make anyone feel lonely and isolated, as well as increase stress and anxiety. Uncertainty about the future has also had an effect on both adults and children’s mental health during this pandemic.
During the pandemic, a higher-than-average proportion of young people (ages 18-24) experienced anxiety and/or depressive symptoms (56 percent). Young adults are more likely than all adults to report stimulant
use (25 percent vs. 13 percent) and suicidal behavior (25 percent vs. 13 percent) (26 percent vs. 11 percent).
The following are some of the mental health disorders that are common;
Anxiety disorders are a type of mental health condition. Anxiety makes it difficult to get through your day.
- Cold or sweaty hands.
- Dry mouth.
- Heart palpitations.
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet.
- Muscle tension.
- Shortness of breath.
- Feeling panic, fear and uneasiness.
- Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences.
- Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts.
- Inability to be still and calm.
- Ritualistic behaviors, such as washing hands repeatedly.
- Trouble sleeping.
Depression is a serious illness that hurts how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. In contrast to normal sadness, depression is persistent, frequently interferes with an individual’s ability to cope with pressure, and significantly interferes with daily ability to function.
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or emptiness that are overwhelming
- Anger outbursts over trivial matters, as well as being irritable and easily frustrated
- Loss of interest in normal activities, including sex
- Being anxious or agitated
- Having difficulty making decisions
- Difficulties concentrating or remembering
- Considering death and suicide a lot.
A mental illness is characterized by intense mood swings, including emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
- Abnormally ecstatic, scatterbrained, or wired
- Heightened activity, vigor, or agitation
- Exaggerated feelings of well-being and self-assurance (euphoria)
- Unusual talkativeness Reduced need for sleep
- Thoughts that racing
- Poor decision-making, such as going on a shopping spree
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by recurring unpleasant thoughts or impulses (obsessions) or the desire of doing something repeatedly (compulsions). Obsessions and compulsions can coexist in some people.
- Fear of contamination or dirt
- Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty
- Needing things orderly and symmetrical
- Aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control and harming yourself or others
- Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
A traumatic and stress-related disorder that can develop after witnessing or experiencing an incident in which death or serious physical harm did occur.
- Feeling down and/or anxious.
- A lack of happiness or interest in previously enjoyed activities.
- Feeling down all the time; using drugs or alcohol to numb the pain or as a way to cope with the trauma.
- Experiencing flashbacks to the traumatic event and feeling as if it were happening again can result in a physical reaction.
- Emotional detachment or intrusive thought
How to Deal with Mental Illness
Exercising is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. According to Psychology Today, moving your body causes the release of endorphins, which help ease stress and improve your emotional state. As a result, exercise improves mental health and combats negative emotions like anxiety, stress, and sadness.
Surround Yourself with Positive Individuals
The company you keep will have a significant impact on your mental health. Each person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with. This is why it is critical to surround yourself with people who are supportive, positive, and beneficial to you. Being around the wrong people can exacerbate mental illness and invite new problems into your life.
Prioritize Your Own Needs
The desire to be present for our loved ones is reasonable and even admirable. However, it is also critical to understand when to prioritize your mental health and needs. You will always come last if you always put others first. This is not to say that you should disregard the feelings or needs of those you care about, but it does mean that you should be aware of when you need to take care of yourself.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep is essential for maintaining psychological processes. Continuously getting enough sleep has also been linked to improved memory and learning functions, both of which have an impact on mental health.
Maintain a Journal
Another great way to improve your mental health is to write down your thoughts in a journal or on paper. The procedure is therapeutic and can help you process your emotions. Journaling is a stress reliever, allowing you to reflect and return to your writing later.
Get Rid of Bad Habits
Bad habits can create havoc on one’s mental health. Worse, it can be difficult to recognize this when certain behavioral habits are familiar and ingrained. The short-term gratification is not always worth the long-term consequences. If you are unsure if something is a bad habit in you, consider how this choice affects you.
Start a New hobby
Improving your mental health can sometimes entail pushing or challenging yourself in a constructive way. This is where picking up a new, healthy hobby can be especially beneficial. This hobby should ideally be something you enjoy and can do on a semi- regular basis. You can start a new hobby on your own or with a friend, in any case, trying something new can often be a necessary boon.
Find Additional Support And Mental Health Services
Improving one’s mental health is not always an easy road. However, there are affordable mental health resources that one can use either to help them gain a better understanding of what mental health is or to navigate through a mental health crises.