COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all our lives. In order to reduce the spread of the virus, public health actions such as social distancing have been necessary. However, they left many of us feeling isolated, lonely, and uncertain about the future, which has increased stress and anxiety levels. Ironically, the same strategies that were critical for ensuring public health during this crisis increased many people’s risks for mental health issues.
It’s normal and expected to feel stressed during a global health crisis, but that stress is amplified when it is an unprecedented crisis within one’s lifetime, and everyone is at risk. A pandemic is more than just a medical phenomenon; it disrupts individuals and society at every level and causes anxiety, stress, stigma, and fear, all of which impact a person’s mental health and the way they interact with the world. The challenges and worries many of us have been facing have been overwhelming and incredibly draining on our emotional well-being.
Now, despite concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases in some areas and low vaccination rates in many communities, life has gradually returned to normal. However, many people may find that when they start venturing back into society again and going back to work, to restaurants, places of worship, and other public gatherings, they will experience some lingering effects of the pandemic on their mental health.
Ways the Pandemic May Have Affected Your Mental Health
Anxieties about getting sick
Since the first cases were reported in the United States, there has been little escaping the fear of being infected with the COVID-19 virus, whether you’re worried about yourself, your family, friends, or co-workers. Even after vaccination, the risk of infection remains a possibility, particularly for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Continuous, long-term fears can both cause and exacerbate anxiety, which, in turn, can affect your appetite, sleep, and ability to cope with everyday life.
Emotional repercussions of social distancing
Even though staying at home may have reduced your fear of getting sick, isolation has its own downsides. Many of us were isolated from the support and companionship of friends and family due to social distancing, which can be highly depressing and challenging. Even if you were fortunate enough to be socially distancing at home with your family, the reality of overall social isolation could still cause loneliness, sadness, and anxiety. And for many people, spending all day, every day with your family may be stressful and create challenges of its own, no matter how much you love them.
Anxiety over finances
If you’re one of the millions who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, were unable to work, or had to put your career on pause to care for loved ones, your finances most likely were significantly impacted by COVID-19. Even if you had a nest egg, the uncertainty of how soon you could return to work and if your job would still be there are sources of stress that can lead to mental health problems. And for many, life still hasn’t returned to normal.
Grief caused by loss
Since the pandemic started, millions of people have lost family members, loved ones, and friends to COVID-19. Grief caused by loss is one of the most serious and severe mental health consequences of the pandemic and the most enduring. It can be difficult to move on with our lives or feel like things will never get better after losing someone close to us.
Struggling With Returning to Normal
As life begins to move back towards normalcy in some parts of the world, matters are still complicated for many whose mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic. Many people feel as though they’ve been left behind and don’t know how to keep up as the world starts moving again, or they may feel set back by what they went through during the pandemic. Others may have compromised immune systems or loved ones who do and can’t risk returning to normal yet.
It’s important to give yourself and others time and patience while navigating the changes we’re all going through. It will take some time for many situations to feel normal again, and the length of time will likely depend on the degree of isolation one experienced during the pandemic. It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to need help. Assertive community treatment services, speaking with a counselor, or even attending virtual group sessions can be a great way to start taking on your anxieties. It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together.
Be prepared for lots of different emotions and accept them as part of the process. It’s not an everyday experience to be locked away for a year, so when we return to our normal lives, we’ll need some adjustment time. Let yourself experience intense emotions, and if they persist or are distressing, schedule an appointment with a therapist who can help you work through them. Decoding why these feelings exist and what purpose they serve is a great way to begin the healing process.
Contact Life Adjustment Team Today
At Life Adjustment Team, we implement state-of-the-art comprehensive outpatient psychiatric rehabilitation into our treatment. We have developed a case management model through these outpatient programs to create a cohesive effort between a client, the client’s family, and our team of multidisciplinary case managers.
We assess the problems caused by the anxiety disorder, provide mentorship, coordinate goals, and advocate for plans of action with critical services to help meet the individual’s or family’s health and wellness needs. During the assertive case management model, the client will partake in individualized sessions with our Master’s level staff. The plan is customized to each individual and their family.
This program aims to meet the individual’s needs, and they feel at an optimum level of independence, wellness, and functional capability and empower them to live a more active, stable, and productive life. Contact us today if you are ready to live your life to the fullest ability.