It’s understandable to have feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger during uncertain times. Regardless of how this pandemic is affecting you don’t beat yourself up for the circumstances. There are signs of hope with some states reopening. Protecting your mental health should be one of your top priorities right now. The worst actions made in life are due to mental health. No one commits suicide because of a stomach ache, or a broken leg. People commit suicide because of their mental health. So here are some ways to stay mentally healthy during this pandemic.
1. Talk to God and read your Bible. If you’re not waking up as early as you used to for work, then you should take a couple of days to sleep in but you should also take some time to talk to God. Before the pandemic I woke up at 5:30am for work. Now that I’m working from home, it takes longer to fall asleep at night because I’m not as tired. Still, I wake up around 7:00am which is two hours before working hours. I use about 30 minutes to pray and read my Bible. Before this pandemic there were hundreds of excuses of not having the time to read the Bible and to pray. As if now, if I don’t read my Bible it’s just because I don’t want to.
2. Money is tight but still buy a treat. Whether you’re still employed, working part time, or relying on unemployment—it’s best to save money. Especially since there aren’t many reasons to spend money. No summer vacations, no dining out, no movie theaters, and no sporting events. But, regardless of your financial situation it’s still good to boost your morale by treating yourself to something. It can be as simple as a Starbucks coffee or ordering curbside pickup from your favorite restaurant. Me and my wife used Grubhub to order steaks for our May anniversary.
3. Be more social. Social distancing is the perfect time to catch up on old friendships through social media. Start a blog or find some gamer friends who are streaming on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, or Facebook. Watch cool videos on TikTok. If you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, then its best not to gloat in your feelings alone. There are hundreds of people right now who feel the same way you do or worse. Hard times are better to get through when you know you’re not the only one going through it.
4. Don’t Make Panic Decisions. I panicked during the month of March. I was expecting to leave the Army in September 2020, and everyday the news about COVID-19 looked worse and worse. In March I had two options: 1. Continue on my way out the Army during hiring uncertainty or reenlist for three years to take a Recruiter position. The issue with recruiting was I haven’t heard anything good about it—long hours and consequences for not meeting your monthly quota. My wife is currently in school and I would hate to have to pull her out of school if I got a recruiting station somewhere other than Maryland. And I would hate to be a geo-bachelor for three years if my wife chose not to accompany me.
March was too early to have a job lined up. Companies were still hiring for Human Resources but I wouldn’t be able to start until July. The companies that I landed interviews with said that they could not hold on to a position until July. I didn’t want to take the risk of leaving the Army and not have a job that will continue to sustain us.
I could have just took the option I least wanted which was reenlist for three years. Even my parents encouraged me to do so because parents want to know their kids are safe and secure. But, I didn’t let circumstances rush me into a decision. I had 45 days to decide if I was going to leave the Army or reenlist, so I spend every day searching online for open positions in my field.
Thankfully, two weeks later my career counselor called and told me that I can sign a declination of service statement to delete the Recruiter assignment and also extend my contract for three to six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I got the best of both worlds. I didn’t have to take an assignment I didn’t want for three years and I was able to extend my contract for just enough time for this pandemic to wash over and the economy go back to normal for the most part.
5. Put more time into your hobbies or find a new one. Social distancing has allotted me more time to write, exercise, video game streaming, reading, and Netflix. And the best of all, time to do absolutely nothing. I’m able to do that because I still have my full time job with just more time on my hands. But, some people feel busier now because their kids are home all the time. Some people aren’t concerned about hobbies because of their stress about money and finding new work. So if you’re blessed to have more time on your hands without additional stress, take advantage of it.
6. Do Nothing. I’m sure you already read memes, tweets, and articles telling you how to be productive during this pandemic. Don’t feel pressured to come out of this quarantine with a finished first draft of the story you always wanted to write. Don’t feel pressured to come out of this quarantine with lost weight because you spent your free time running. If you do more power to you. But, if the effects of this pandemic has got you down then no one should judge you for wanting to do nothing other than fix your finances and just stay physically and emotionally safe until life goes back to normal for you.