2020 has been a whirlwind of events, and it's still not over. It has definitely challenged me as a person in many different ways, including my mental health. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has affected and challenged my depression and anxiety. Wearing a mask at first gave me major anxiety, to the point where if I had one on, I'd have a small anxiety attack and would have a hard time breathing. Having to stay inside during stay at home orders has made my depression go back and forth because one of the best things that helps me is being outside and being with friends. Through it all, I have learned how to help myself through these following ways.
1) Going out for a walk
When I was still in Colorado, I would occasionally go on walks with my mom's dogs and my son. Just doing this and getting fresh air helped me feel like I wasn't trapped inside.
2) Being the designated shopper
I made it my goal to go out to grab groceries or run errands for my little family when needed. Driving to Target and grabbing what we needed was my little escape from being trapped inside. This helps my depression not get worse.
3) Having a face mask that isn't too restricting, but still does the job
I'll admit, for a while I just didn't wear a mask because it wasn't mandated in the state of Colorado. When I was going somewhere that did require a mask, I wore a surgical one that my mom gave me to use. I quickly found this was not the ideal mask for someone that gets anxiety from wearing one, so I bought a different one from Target. I got the wrong size so it is a little big on me, but it ended up being the perfect one for me. I keep it help up on my nose using my glasses, but it's not too tight or restrictive to the point where I wouldn't get anxiety attacks from it and I could still breathe.
4) Video chatting
I just moved to Hawai'i and, if you didn't know, new arrivals to island are required to quarantine for 14 days. This means no walks, no grocery shopping, nothing. Fortunately, we had a house prior to arrival so I wasn't restricted to a small hotel room, but being stuck inside was a concern for me. I NEED my fresh air and NEED a way to keep my mental health from deteriorating. I have Facetimed my mom and brother countless times during my quarantine, and even had a whole Zoom call with friends and family (to celebrate my son's 1st birthday). I may not have much human interaction, but even through a screen has helped me tremendously.
5) Watching TV shows
The best way to help my mental health during these times has been binge watching "Law & Order: SVU." It kills time and distracts me from the fact that so many things are going on in the world. Sometimes it's good and beneficial to distract your mind!
Everyone knows writing is one of my passions. I love doing it! I have written 55 articles for Odyssey since May!
7) Spending time with family
I have spent a ton of time with my family this year. When I was in Colorado, I would travel an hour and a half to see my mom, brother, and dad every weekend. I have also spent a ton of time with my husband and every day with my son. Being around people that love me and that I love has helped me stay happy!
8) Going on hikes and mini getaways
At the start of COVID-19 when everything was shut down, the hiking trails in Colorado were still open. I went to Garden of the Gods a couple of times with my son and husband. We also went up to the mountains before we left to explore, and just being outside and in a new place, even if it was for a short time, helped with my depression.