One Year in: Coping with the Pandemic Anniversary

March 2021 signifies the one-year anniversary of Covid-19 becoming a household name. When we reflect on anniversaries, we usually associate them with celebrations, but this specific anniversary brings forth feelings of loss, grief, sadness, and anxiety, affecting each one of us in different ways.

As our collective losses mount, we continue mourning as a community. The rollout of vaccines has provoked a sense of hope for the future and life beginning to return to normalcy, but until we’re able to fully conquer this virus, we continue to bear with the heartache the pandemic has caused in our daily lives.

Here are some reminders on how to promote and maintain positive mental health as we hit the one-year landmark of the pandemic:

Don’t Scrimp on Self-Care

Self-care is a term thrown around a lot, but experts say it’s often misunderstood. Self-care is important to maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It means doing things to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Examples of self-care include meditating, creating art, going for a walk, or taking a luxurious bath. Practicing self-care can really help you feel rejuvenated even as we continue to navigate the disruptions to our daily lives caused by the pandemic.

Train your Brain to be Mindful

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. For example, next time you’re enjoying a meal, slow down, pay attention to and savor each bite rather than gulping it down. Meditating is a great example of being mindful and in the moment, paying attention to each breath can be soothing.

Cultivate Gratitude

It is all too easy to focus on the negatives this pandemic has created, but it is more important than ever we turn our minds to gratefulness. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude — and there are important social and personal benefits to doing so. Being thankful and acknowledging the positive in your life is a wonderful way to a healthy, positive mindset. For example, when your mind turns toward negativity, be mindful of this act and name some things you are grateful for. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack.

Garner Resilience

Resilience is the ability to adapt to or recover readily from adversity and major life changes. When stress, misfortune or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically. However, resilience isn’t about putting up with something difficult, being stoic or figuring it out on your own. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key part of being resilient.

You will find that practicing the skills of self-care, mindfulness, gratitude, and resilience will definitely help you build inner strength to overcome these very trying times.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is here to help and available 24/7. Find out more about our treatment options here. Call us today at 360-651-6400.