A Guide for Managing Pandemic Discomfort

If you have had difficulty managing emotional discomfort over the past 18 months, know you are not alone.

In the United States, we have seen an unimaginable spike in mental illness over the past year. It is reported that 40% of adults have experienced an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms – compared to just 10% of individuals reported in 2019 by the CDC Household Pulse Survey.

What can be done?

Here at the Mind Spa, we understand the many challenges individuals face living under the uncertainties of a global pandemic. If you have found yourself struggling to manage your mental well-being during this time, feel free to read our 3 – step mindfulness approach below for managing feelings of discomfort during this crucial time.

A 3-Step Mindfulness Approach

1. Acknowledgment

It is not uncommon to feel frustration, despair, sadness, or hopelessness during this time.

Many of us have had our livelihoods, social activities, work settings, and time with family stripped away from us. Some of us have lost loved ones to the virus itself, while others have lost others to conflict about the best ways to manage the virus (e.g., masks vs. no mask, vaccine vs. no vaccine, etc.).

Almost all of us are struggling to establish or re-establish balance in our lives, whether it be working at home while homeschooling or keeping our households safe. At the same time, our unvaccinated children attend school in the spirit of maintaining a healthy level of socialization and education for them.  

To begin the process of healing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How has my life changed with the global pandemic?
  • How do I feel about these changes?

During this time, it is beneficial to acknowledge these life-changing events to know exactly how to address these related feelings and manage them for a better future.

2. Acceptance

If you have carried feelings of guilt or shame for being unable to perform as you may have wanted to over the past 18 months, know that you are not alone.

Many individuals have reported feelings of guilt and shame during this time; much of it is related to work productivity, career advancement, financial stability, family well-being, socialization, and more.

During this time, it may be beneficial to sit with any pandemic-related feelings you may be experiencing, judgment-free.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What feelings am I currently experiencing?
  • How do I want to feel in the future, given that some changes are made?

Accepting these feelings without attaching labels or shame to them can bring a much-needed form of self-care into the picture.

Too often, we are quick to judge and blame ourselves for unforeseen circumstances that occur in life. However, it is important to remember that you are experiencing these feelings, but they do not define who you are, and with the proper support, it is possible to move past them.

3. Action

If you have been unable to take actionable steps to support your mental health during this time, do not worry. Too often, when larger-than-life situations occur, we as human beings become paralyzed as to what steps to take next.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing now to take care of myself right now?
  • What are mental health resources currently available to me?
  • What steps can I take to help me move towards feelings of empowerment and progress?

Thankfully, we have the resource of mental health professionals who can help us create a safe space to acknowledge, accept and act for our well-being.