Coffee is essential for me starting my day, and wouldn’t you know that as I sat down to write this, I spilled. And while this isn’t exactly a quarantine specific problem, it is a problem. Because now I have to get up, clean up what I spilled, and get more coffee.
And of course, I will do this, because obviously not having coffee is not an option. Yet, it seems like a small accomplishment because at the end of it I am right back where I started, still waiting for that first sip.
And that is perhaps representative of the battle many of us with anxiety face during the quarantine, a problem that has set us back in our recovery. Sure, those of us who, like me, deal with social anxiety might be perfectly content to stay inside more. Yet the anxiety when we go out multiplies. Just the other day I had to go to the store and I felt like I was going into battle. Add to this the anxiety of how we look during zoom meetings, what we have as backgrounds, etc, and the anxiety over what will happen to us or to loved ones, and it is easy to understand how this quarantine can set those of us back in our mental health recovery.
Similarly, not being able to engage in normal activities and see people that help lift you out of darkness can add on to the depression. Sometimes it seems there is no point in doing anything because now you know tomorrow will be more or less the same as today, not seeing anyone. No reason to shower, maybe not even a reason to get out of bed. I had at least one of those days during this quarantine. So I get it, things right now aren’t good for mental health recovery.
This highlights two things. The first is the importance of discovering and reinforcing self-care habits while quarantined. If you are quarantined with your family, maybe you need to take 20 minutes for yourself and let your spouse handle the kids and the dogs and the daily distractions. If you live alone, maybe finding a bodyweight workout if you don’t have a home gym or a show to binge-watch that lifts your spirits, or learn to accept that you don’t have to be uber-productive every day.
And the second thing that is highlighted by the mental health struggles of quarantine is the need for Congress to include mental health relief in future COVID-response bills. While the increased medical needs of those infected are essential, the mental health burden that is continuing to grow during this pandemic is no less essential. Because healing disease only goes so far if you don’t care for one’s mental health as well.
And with that, I will wrap up since I am now almost out of coffee and need to go get more. Until next time, be well.