By Janica Maya
One year has passed since the Covid 19 pandemic engulfed our lives and we continue to experience the effects globally. Many people have reflected a lost year and learned more about themselves while seeking the hope of normalcy, once again.
Since the enforcement to physically distance and self-isolate, we recognize how much we miss interacting with each other and see how it affected our mental health and well-being. The pandemic revealed and continues to change the way we approach our mental health in both positive and negative ways.
During the course of the pandemic, we understood how connected we are and depend on each other, but as we lost this connection many people felt isolated and vulnerable. The pandemic also divided groups of people which enhanced the inequalities in our communities. Throughout this year, the pandemic made it clear to see how many people experience economic disparities and racial injustice – a result of systemic injustice and racism. Which existed long before the pandemic. This in turn also continues to add to the existing mental health crisis.
Ed Mantler - Vice President, Mental Health Commission of Canada, said: “The restrictions, the stress and all the cultures around being part of the pandemic expose us to a lot of mental health stressors.”
To create a good foundation for our mental health is to tackle the longstanding inequalities, trauma and stress we have been facing in our society for years.
Mark Rowland - Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation, said: “It's clear our future depends on re-imaging what our society could and should be.”
Many of us are missing the meaningful moments of connecting with our friends and families, especially since it is one of the most significant aspects of our physical health and emotional well-being.
We experience the pain of distance away from other people and see its negative effects on ourselves. However, it has become a reminder of how precious interactions are with others.
According to Miriam Kirmayers - Clinical Psychologist and friendship expert, as we experience loneliness from disconnection, loneliness is more the experience of how we feel connected and who we are.
She said: “The more we embrace vulnerability by sharing struggles and holding space for our friends’ feelings, we tear apart loneliness.” Being open with our experience and struggles with our close ones gives a therapeutic outlet to discuss how we feel and can normalize conversations on mental health.
The big take-away from the pandemic is seeing how resilient humans are to adapt and overcome any mental and physical barriers they encounter. We have increased our mental adversity by creating ways to cope with our surroundings – through which we establish self-care tools to deal with isolation, uncertainty and boredom.
For example, by getting in touch with the great outdoors, we appreciate our physical world and become more physically active.
Acknowledging how the pandemic affects our mental health is a step forward to manage and cope with our struggles - and for some, introduction to the importance of mental health.
How are you coping with your mental health during the pandemic?
Leave us a comment @vibe105to