This May, we’ll be exploring various aspects of mental health in a new series called “How Do I Deal?” As we navigate Mental Health Awareness month during COVID-19 this year, we feel like this current moment in time requires us to go a few layers deeper as we learn how to manage all the grief hope, whiplash, fear, anxiety, and sadness we may be feeling in this moment and beyond.
Unprecedented times mean it’s more important than ever to prioritize our mental health. This week, as we dig a little deeper into the ways we can add some certainty to our steps, we decided to bring in a few friends to help us answer the biggest coping question on our minds this month:
How do I deal?
“I’ve been taking care by limiting my news intake. I get most of my news online, through newsletters - like my own, Wake-Up Call, which comes out every morning. I read a lot of articles from various publications - so I’m not watching a lot of cable news. I stay updated by reading the important news of the day in the morning, and in the evening, I do bullet point summaries on my Instagram to give people the basic facts they need to know to stay informed but not get inundated.”
“I’m taking it day by day — and there are good days, and not-so-great weeks, but I’m trying to accept it all and just let go a little. That includes getting in touch with myself and evaluating what makes me feel good, and what doesn’t, and making decisions based on those feelings rather than some artificial measure of performance or success. Sometimes that means I clear my calendar for the day and allow myself to just exist without any pressures or expectations.”
— Meena Harris, Founder and CEO, Phenomenal
“I’m getting by with constant reminders that right now “doing the least” is actually “doing the most.” My goal is to get through each day, not to do something incredibly productive or genius with all of this “free time.” Saying that out loud literally every single day allows me to not feel guilty if I watch a full season of Gossip Girl in record time (did it two days ago) or if I eat tater tots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I congratulate myself for doing the basics. Like the other day I got all of the conditioner out of my hair before I got out of the shower, resulting in a very lovely air dry situation. Go me. Another thing that has helped is actively trying to identify needs in my community that I can fill. Being available to help others reminds me I am not alone.”
— Caroline Moss, Author and Host of the Gee Thanks, Just Bought It! Podcast
“The only way I’m getting by right now is by prioritizing my mental health above all else. No exceptions. My inner health is my greatest wealth, especially during a pandemic. Self-care is the only way we’ll survive this. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, there’s no way we can be of service to others. So, to that end: Everything that doesn’t bring joy into my life is cancelled. Period. It’s very hard to maintain, and it generally means spending as much time alone as possible. When possible, I’m on my yoga mat, wearing a face mask, cancelling plans, and spending as much time as I can feeling rather than thinking . It’s unorthodox and it’s definitely not cosigned by the patriarchy, but in times like these? For me, there’s nothing better.”
— Jessamyn Stanley, Founder and Yogi at The Underbelly Yoga
“Like many others, my time being home and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been an emotional rollercoaster. There have been some glorious moments spent connecting and bonding with my children, and there have been some more challenging moments and realizations that I’ve been so accustomed to pushing to the side. I think that all of this time has forced me to really look in the mirror and decide if I was happy where I was, and with what I was doing. This has been a complicated, yet fulfilling journey of self discovery, reconnecting with my passions, making time for myself, and not letting my “busy” schedule get in the way of taking care of my needs.”
— Nina Westbrook, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Entrepreneur
“I make time for the daily rituals that make me feel good. I turn to mediation, long walks, breathwork and a warm shower each night to nurture my mind and body. Routine in the home is also a vital component of self-care. I’ve been supporting local florists by ordering flowers each week for my home. The color, scent and beauty instantly bring a smile to my face. Self-care can be simple!”
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Image by @oliviarogine.