During this pandemic, all our fears and anxieties may have been magnified—with no clear end in sight, every day may feel like a battle for most of us.
It is clear that COVID-19 has not only caused a pandemic but also a mental health crisis. All of us are faced with different circumstances; some may have lost their loved ones, some may struggle to find a motivation to continue their studies, and some have worries of not only keeping themselves safe but also keeping their stomachs full. Moreover, everyone around the world is affected in one way or another by the stringent lockdowns, the limited interactions, and the lack of social connection. Needless to say, the "new normal" we get to experience every day has not been easy and all these drastic changes contribute to the state of our mental health.
During these tough times, a lot of us might be familiar with feelings of loneliness. A review of 36 studies conducted all around the world revealed that one in three people are experiencing signs of anxiety and depression. This means that we are not alone in whatever we are feeling. In times that we feel lonely and anxious, our first instinct might be to isolate ourselves and shut the world out. But doing this won't help us nor the people around us. It's okay to admit that we are not okay, to put our needs first, and especially to ask for help. Reaching out to people in times of need might make us feel guilty or shameful, but it's helpful to keep in mind that everyone needs someone, and reaching out might be of help to them. Just a simple conversation, though virtual, if it’s with someone you trust, can literally change your whole perspective. We all have been deprived of social connection, and so a simple conversation might be enough to give feelings of warmth and positivity. Studies even show that having a network of strong relationships encourages good emotional health, so social interaction is a necessary aspect of our lives. When feelings of loneliness emerge, it's important to stop burning bridges and instead start building them. Besides, we're all trying our best to live in the midst of surviving, which makes connecting with other people more needed than ever.
Having more compassion for yourself is one of the best things you can do for your mental health, especially during these trying times. The external world may be chaotic at the moment, but we owe it to ourselves to try to have peace within because we all deserve it. The pandemic may seem like it's not going to end soon, but if we take a closer look, we have the power to make a better normal—maybe not for the whole world, but at least for ourselves.