Protecting your mental health after the Pandemic

Protecting your mental health after the Pandemic

Protecting your mental health after the Pandemic

The last sixteen months have been quite possibly the hardest for a generation to endure. COVID swept the world and left illness and death in its wake. Although the pandemic is far from being over, the World has adjusted to live with the virus – trying to achieve ‘normal’, although I think that form of normal may never be fully achieved again.

As well as the obvious health issues with COVID, the impact on mental health has been devasting. Whether this has been from job losses or failed businesses to isolating for months on end, there is much repair work to be done for many.

There was a report recently from the BBC that stated that loneliness is a bigger health risk than smoking or obesity – that is an unbelievable scenario. As a society, how have we come to this? How is it that so many are afflicted by loneliness?

Improve your mental health

It might seem like it’s all too easy to write about improving mental health, but I think I am in a good place to do so. During the pandemic, I have often been on call with many clients, both previous and new people. The questions that I have been asked certainly changed in tone and direction in the last year – and it worries me.

I think it is important to sit back and take stock. It’s important to give your mind a break, to mentally tell yourself that although life may not be perfect, you are doing all you can to get back to better times. Giving yourself praise is something that we all should do, and do so on a regular basis.

By silently collecting your thoughts and offering self-praise, you are taking some solid steps in getting your mind in good order.

How to improve your mental health

The lockdowns were difficult times for all of us, but now there is a greater element of freedom, you should take full advantage. If you look at any mental health advice lists online, you can be sure that regular exercise is mentioned – normally in first place, and rightly so.

Daily exercise is a necessity in improving mental health. If you combine this exercise with fresh air, you will get optimum benefit.

You should also limit your alcohol consumption. The intake for alcohol increased dramatically in the last year or so, as did the number of deaths related to alcohol abuse. It’s time to review your position on alcohol and your daily habits. Cutting down will assist in better mental health.

Cut out all drugs. Simple. End of.

If you are feeling lonely, then reach out. Reach out to old friends you haven’t seen or spoken to for some time. If this isn’t an option, make an effort to join a club local to you, this could be a sporting club, a book club, a knitting group and so on. Try your very best to get out there and make new friends – remember, there will be many people in these clubs or groups that are in similar situations to yourself.

If the above does not sound like an option, talk to your GP. Many will offer social prescribing – where you will be introduced to other people or given details about events and activities local to you.

Above all, remember you are not alone. So many people are suffering with their mental health right now. If it’s useful to you, I have published a series of helpline numbers which you can find here.

Tony Hyland