Like many people following current events, I found it easy to get caught up in news feeds about the public-health and political discourse occurring locally, nationally, and globally. Much of the discourse has consisted of unending tension and disagreements, which has often escalated to vitriolic tirades that ultimately benefited no one. It’s the current reality in this new normal. And it appears to be a reality that will continue into the foreseeable future.
Being disconnected from the social media world, especially during COVID-19, would not likely be considered good timing by many. That said, I felt the need to undergo social-media detoxing to permit my mind some mental respite.
I felt the best way to manage news-feed overload was to simply take a break. Easier said than done, of course. But I somehow achieved this short-term goal back in July. The exception to this involved reading or listening to any headline news having any immediate impact on me, my local community, and the country
Since then, I have eased back into reading news feeds about ongoing public-health debates regarding COVID-19 and the current political climate. But I do so by reminding myself about the important things to keep in mind, such as my self-care, valuing my relationship with family and friends, and making time to breathe, relax, and laugh. I suggest you do the same.
Coping During the New Reality
It continues to be a strange and unusual period for all of us. And for those experiencing life-impacting changes, such as unemployment and difficulty making the rent or mortgage payment, this period is ever more challenging. Such life-impacting experiences have likely resulted in feeling an extraordinary amount of angst and uncertainty of the foreseeable future for many. Thus, making time for mental respite is a good thing whenever there’s a need for it.
If the pubic-health debates, the current political climate, or personal life stressors during this new normal has left you mentally exhausted and, perhaps, led to unrelenting episodes of anxiety, depression, or helplessness, it may benefit you to disconnect from the mass media, including social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter,), to attend to your own needs. And if disconnecting is not enough or possible, consider resources available to individuals in these situations. The Centers for Disease Control, for instance, is a worthwhile resource to explore. The CDC has a web page dedicated to educating people about susceptibility to stress during COVID-19 and the important steps to take to ensure one’s self-care and the care of one’s community.
It may also be helpful to consider community resources, such as your state website or your primary care provider. Many state websites, for instance, include links to information on health insurance, childcare and family resources, protecting oneself from scams and fraud, housing protection for renters and homeowners, and advocacy around individual rights during the pandemic, among other COVID-19-related concerns. For your mental wellbeing, your primary care provider can refer you to a healthcare professional who specializes in helping people manage anxiety, depression, and stress in an adaptive manner.
Taking Care of Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Your self-care and that of loved ones should remain a priority during the pandemic. Remember to take any necessary steps to safeguard your and your family’s wellbeing, physically and mentally. And remember to keep yourself and others safe by wearing a mask and maintaining a safe, social distance between yourself and others when you’re out in public.
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