Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Oftentimes as therapists/clinicians we forget to take care of our mental health and engage in self-care. We forget that we too are humans and without self-check-ins we are a disservice to others.
Taking care of our mental health is even more critical as we live through a pandemic (COVID-19), which can elevate levels of stress. Therefore, it’s important that we assess our needs, identify coping skills and develop and maintain a support network.
Self-care means many things: physical: sleep, stretching, walking, healthy eating; emotional: stress management, emotional maturity, forgiveness, compassion; social: boundaries, support system, positive social media, communication, ask for help and spiritual: time alone, meditation, yoga, connection, and journaling. Self-care also means focus on what you can control.
Identifying coping skills may look different during the pandemic. Strategies that were effective pre-pandemic may not be currently relevant. Write a list of effective coping skills. Reach out to others to see what works for them. Try new strategies. Keep an open mind.
Lastly, everybody needs a support network. Ask yourself who are your trusted supports. The pandemic may have limited the way in which you interact, including the frequency at which you connect with your support system. Significant supports may have been lost due to the pandemic. As social beings, we need each other. During stressful times that becomes more apparent. Utilize your resources and supports.