mental health

How COVID-19 Impacts Your Mental Health

Lauren says the last year feels something like a dream.

The 22-year-old graduated in 2019. “I was like 2020 is going to be my year,” Lauren says. “Then it wasn’t.”

The bar where Lauren worked laid off staff overnight. On top of personal relationship issues and unemployment is the looming threat of getting sick.

Loneliness

With lockdown orders, we find ourselves in lonely repetitions. It all just seems to go on for months. We can’t often act out strategies to cope with our stress.

“When I look back, it feels like a dream, which I realize now is disassociation,” says Lauren.

Lauren is far from alone. Isolation has many of us continue to struggle with mental health and denial.

“I’ve pretty much been in my room since the Australian bushfires,” says Isobel.

Dr. John Bonning says an “unprecedented” number of people struggling with their mental health. Compared to last year, Bonning says the number of young people turning up in emergency rooms with high levels of stress and anxiety has grown by 25%.

Unemployment

“Clearly significant economic pressure is being felt in our communities,” Bonning says. “The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the gaps in our mental healthcare systems as being more like chasms and made already dire situations all the more urgent.”

As if isolation, repetition, and loneliness weren’t enough – unemployment is a magnifying cause of mental health issues. We’re seeing high levels of depression, anxiety, stress, and a staggering increase in alcohol consumption and substance abuse.

Our Future

It’s not just the present situation we find ourselves in with the pandemic. Our perception of the future is not good.

“Yesterday it was the pandemic, tomorrow it’s climate change, whatever happens, it’s like we’re all trying to tell older people that this stuff is important, that we need to take this seriously because it’s a thing we are going to live with, but it doesn’t feel like they care,” Lauren says.

Positive Notes

We can fight loneliness, isolation, and repetition by building mindful routines. Routines that include purposeful socialization, cleanliness, and movement. 

  • Make an effort to make video calls to friends and family members on a daily basis. It’s important to feel a connection and to voice and share in stresses and concerns.
  • Start a routine of daily house chores to keep your environment clean and bright. There’s nothing like clutter, an unkempt home, and a mess to exacerbate depression. Strive to do something every day to maintain your home.
  • Move. Try out different fitness apps to find something that fits your comfort zone and keeps your interest. Doing something physical that increases our heart rate and gets us breathing is one of the most important things we can do to fight depression and anxiety.

Don’t let a lockdown keep you down!