Nobody could have foreseen the challenges that 2020 would pose to people across the globe. From fear for the immediate health of ourselves and others, learning to live without access to typical services or activities, being isolated from friends and family during the lockdown, to losing jobs and means of financial support, the pandemic has changed our lives like nothing else. Amidst the chaos, many find themselves suffering from symptoms of mental illness and struggling with substance abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic makes recovery more challenging, but tools are at our disposal to support our path to personal growth.
If you feel scared, depressed, unstable and unsure of the future, you are not alone. Anxiety is off the charts across the nation as individuals fear for their safety and the wellbeing of family and friends. Even if you haven’t been personally afflicted with the virus, it has surely affected your life in some way. We know exposure to new environments, changes in routine, and balancing work life with enjoyable activities all decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase our resilience to stress, allowing us to move ahead in our lives working towards our goals while feeling happy at the moment. The lockdown has stripped us of many of these opportunities, kept us at home, and limited the activities available to us. You may have felt trapped in your routine, developed harmful habits or been unable to follow through on the things you’d like to be practicing. Your feelings are understandable. It only makes sense that all of this tension on a global scale challenges out mental health.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect for those dealing with substance abuse is the disruption to our support systems. How can we maintain our health when we can’t meet with support groups, attend classes, go to the gym or meet with our therapists? How can we afford our prescriptions, therapy, coaching or other forms of support when we aren’t able to go to work?
Having to social distance and limit our exposure to those we don’t live with has only made matters more complicated. Our friends and family often provide crucial emotional support that encourages us on our path to recovery. The lockdown has forced us into social isolation, withered our support networks and stripped us of opportunities that were central to building more sustainable lives. Without access to these support systems, many of us have found it incredibly difficult to keep ourselves accountable to our goals and promises.
Regardless of the specific ways that the pandemic has altered your life, it is important to remember that you aren’t alone in your feelings. Though you may feel disconnected, the struggles that we are sharing create common ground. Online communities, classes, and Zoom sessions may not feel as genuine or helpful as in-person meetings, but trying times demand resourcefulness and adaptation. Whether your day now involves an at-home workout, new hobbies like painting, gardening, self-guided meditation sessions, journaling, or even cooking new dishes, there is a myriad of ways to introduce variety to your life and receive the support that you need.
Moving forward, there are sure to be new challenges to face as the pandemic continues and vaccine distribution begins. Seasonal affective disorder already poses a significant difficulty for so many, and as we continue through the winter we may find that the combination of short days and lack of social interaction wreaks havoc on our mood. Under such circumstances, it is even more crucial to give your friends a call or reach out for help if you need it.
No matter how dark and cold this winter may seem, remember that spring is on the horizon and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your light may come in the form of receiving a vaccine, getting to see friends again or even just feeling safe to enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurant. For many of us, finding the courage to seek professional help marks the beginning of the process of shedding this skin. The pandemic will, hopefully, come to an end; however, you deserve treatment without the wait, and Safe Harbor is ready to provide loving support when you are ready to receive it.
The global pandemic has added layers of suffering to our lives in ways we weren’t prepared for. If you feel like your mental health has taken a toll during the lockdown, you are not alone. Even without the pandemic, mental health is a serious issue that takes a balance of resources to manage. Safe Harbor understands how difficult it can be to receive support, especially during the lockdown. We want to be there with you as you take steps towards greater health and wellness. Located in Orange County, CA, Safe Harbor offers treatment for the mind, body and soul. From traditional practices like individual psychotherapy, group therapy and behavioral therapy, to holistic approaches including mindfulness and experiential therapies, Safe Harbor is ready to provide loving support and evidence-based treatments to guide you on your path to recovery. We hear your experiences, traumas, addictions and mental health disorders with open hearts free of judgment. Call (833) 580-1473 today to learn more.