The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact worldwide and has led to many people becoming unemployed, feeling isolated, or losing a loved one in death. The imposed lockdown by governments has changed our way of life. Movements are restricted and closely monitored. Gatherings, even mini-reunions, are banned. No more visiting friends and family members on weekends or holidays.
During these trying times, don’t be surprised if the people around you begin to overthink things. The isolation and loneliness can get to anyone. And without their usual cohort of good friends or family members around them, it’s almost expected that some people may enter a downward spiral towards anxiety and/or depression. While it is true that COVID-19 has brought much public attention to physical health, ignoring mental health during the pandemic is a grave mistake.
If you are experiencing mental and emotional issues, talking to a psychotherapist is recommended. Here are a few ways that speaking to a counselor from Alvarado Parkway Institute can help.
Learn How to Cope with Anxiety
Throughout the pandemic, we have had to deal with lots of bad news—both at the international and local levels. And It’s no doubt that post-COVID months have been rough for many of us. People who were already at high risk of anxiety may develop the condition after witnessing the multitude of negative events around them. Anxiety is characterized by a strong, persistent feeling that something bad is always going to happen. Over time, these negative emotions can become overwhelming and affect how people carry out their day-to-day activities.
If you have been feeling much more anxious since the pandemic, talking to a therapist can help you to unpack any negative feelings and fears you have. A trained therapist can teach you healthy coping skills such as breathing techniques, physical exercises, mental exercises, and relaxation techniques that can help you manage anxiety attacks. Learning healthy coping mechanisms is very important as it reduces the likelihood that you will resort to unhealthy coping strategies. Some common unhealthy coping strategies include drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking illicit drugs, or engage in risky behavior.
View Your Beliefs from a Different Perspective
If you have anxiety or depression, it is very likely that you will replay negative thoughts, feelings, and memories in your head. But when you talk to a therapist, you get the opportunity to express all your feelings and emotions. Interestingly, your therapist can help you to view negative thoughts from a different viewpoint. Your therapist may also use cognitive behavioral techniques, what have proven to be very effective in treating anxiety.
Many people with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues have cognitions that are not realistic. For example, they may feel as if they will die within minutes if they leave their house without a mask on. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people to challenge negative cognitions so that they can appreciate that things may not be as bad as they seem. If negative cognitions can be reduced or eliminated, then a more positive thought pattern develops. And a more positive way of thinking is more likely to lead to more positive emotions.
Improve Your Physical Wellbeing
Although anxiety and depression are mental health issues, they can also impact your physical well-being. Many people with depression and anxiety find it difficult to eat or even get out of bed each day. Working with a suitable therapist can help you to regain your energy, productivity, and positivity. Improved mental clarity and less stress also leads to a healthier appetite and better sleep.
Strengthen Your Social Relationships
As mentioned earlier, therapy can help you to think more positively about yourself and your circumstances. And with increased positivity comes improved self-confidence. People with a strong, positive sense of self tend to be more willing to open up and build close relationships with their friends and family members. A therapist can even help you to develop specific interpersonal and communication skills so that you can socialize more effectively.
While it is true that COVID-19 has restricted people from meeting or mingling with most of their friends, there are other options for interpersonal interaction. For example, you can take advantage of Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social platforms to keep in touch with your loved ones.
Sharpen Your Self-Awareness
Some people are afraid to face their own negative thoughts and feelings. However, unresolved mental and emotional issues may leave them feeling more anxious, depressed, and stressed. During counseling sessions, the psychotherapist will engage you in discussions to determine the issues that are affecting you. As you open up and share your concerns, you get the opportunity to understand your deepest thoughts and emotions better.
With improved self-awareness, you will be better able to appreciate the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You will also find it easier to identify beliefs or behaviors that need to be better managed or adjusted during therapy.
As shown, talking to a licensed therapist can help you to manage the mental stress of being in lockdown. During psychotherapy sessions, you’ll get the chance to speak about your feelings and address them rather than hide from them. Your therapist will also equip you with the skills you need to overcome any mental or emotional obstacle you may be facing. Best of all, an increasing number of therapists have begun to offer their mental health services online so you can maintain social distance and get the help you need for a fraction of the cost.