This pandemic has been getting worse as it continues for most people, which has caused difficulty managing our mental health.
It really does suck having to stay at home after so long and not have real social interactions with others. It is a part of life and human nature to be able to interact fully and normally. Going on almost a full year with a lot of lives moved online feels normal for our routines now, but mentally it is a hard time.
Once the semester ended, it became even tougher because I didn’t see so many people in a day as I do on campus at school. Seeing a different face every day really makes it feel more normal. Even if there is a mask covering their smile, the eye squints give me a friendly feeling that the smile is there somewhere.
I’ve observed that when I’ve felt I am having a harder day than usual, it happens to be because I need to interact with someone in person that is not my parents or my dog. Sometimes seeing my coworkers or the residents is enough, but not always. I need a new face, a new environment. In these situations, I’ve caught myself stuck in my head.
Once we are stuck in our heads, as most people know, it takes a lot of willpower, focus and strength to re-associate with the real world. A lot.
In order to get myself back to the present moment, I enjoy journaling and I have been meditating here and there. I’ll watch a new show that isn’t educational and something I fully love and makes me happy, no matter how many times I’ve seen it already.
Examples of these easy-to-watch and funny shows include “The Office” (obviously), “Schitt’s Creek” and “Freaks and Geeks.” If I get bored of the repetitiveness, I’ll watch something I haven’t seen before. My family and I started watching “Shipping Wars, “the most random show I have ever seen on TV. The acting is so fun to make fun of and the characters and concepts are hilarious.
Working out is also a big part of my life when I get stuck in my head. Sometimes, when done correctly, it can be used to fuel my workouts. If I can put just the right songs together, my workout will kick my ass and I will feel better than ever walking out of the gym.
When distracting myself stops working, which it does, that is when I get stuck. Now what? I ask myself. If all of my methods stopped working, what am I supposed to do now?
Everything will become too bottled up some days, which are the hardest days to deal with. This is when I have to remember that I have friends for a reason. People in my life love me like I love them, which is the attitude to have when it comes to asking others for help. It can be such a tough thing to do sometimes, to feel you are putting your burdens on someone else. But, that’s what they are there for.
Sometimes the journaling is not enough and I need someone else to listen and calm me down. Journaling is relaxing and much easier to do, but the other person being there and not feeling lonely is what is so important on these days. It can be as simple as saying, “I am having a hard day, can you just sit and have a regular conversation with me for a little to get my mind off of things?” I do this to my best friend all the time.
I know I would do it for her, so she does it for me. It’s the attitude to have when needing the help that matters. You know you would do it for your loved ones, so why wouldn’t they do it for you? If it doesn’t burden you when they do it, why should it bother them?
The most important part of this, for me, is always letting the person know the help they gave me even if they don’t feel like it. For example, I was having a rough night and difficult morning the following day. My mom urged me to get my nails done, not knowing that it would make me physically feel better, even though it wouldn’t mentally. My nail tech happened to be so bubbly and fun to talk to the entire time. I didn’t even have coffee that morning, so I wasn’t fully energized, and she was. She was so happy to be doing what she loved and have a new client in front of her.
I made it a point to text her that day and let her know that she made my day completely. It was a new face, new attitude, and new environment. She welcomed me so kindly that I immediately left my overthinking mind and was in the present moment with her company. It helped re-start my day and gave me hope that I won’t always be in my head. It gave me hope that I can get out if I just have the right stimulus.