I don’t know about you, but I never really liked wearing a mask on Halloween. By the time I trick-or-treated the seventh house, I was pretty much over it. Now, I carry my N95 with me everywhere. I wash my hands like I just fished my cell phone out of the toilet (again). I can now focus on my work while little ones are climbing on my lap or asking me “why” because they can see me and therefore think I’m available. In almost every way, COVID-19 has changed my physical behavior patterns. No surprises here.
But what does surprise me, is that I’ve never experienced so many people being so open to emotional self-care. Maybe it’s the lack of socializing, sports, live music or great restaurants to check out or talk about. But it’s as if the Pandemic has created a wakeup call for thinking about what we are thinking about. Maybe this is the silver lining we have been looking for – we have the opportunity to focus on emotional hygiene – “taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies”, says Guy Winch.
Now, let me clarify: I’m just talking about emotional health. Mental health may include serious diagnosed conditions such as clinical depression or generalized anxiety disorder. In contrast, emotional health refers to everyday experiences that impact our psychological well-being and our ability to function at our best. Common examples are loneliness, rejection, or feeling irritable, grouchy, anxious or disappointed.
Well-accredited doctors tell us that the following cause-and-effect scenarios can happen to any of us:
- Our executive functioning can be impaired by loneliness.
- Decision-making can be impacted by too much time spent worrying, or in deep philosophical ruminations about life and humanity.
- Communications with friends can become exasperating when we are frustrated.
- Attention and concentration can be compromised by anxiety.
- Motivation and productivity can be obstructed by depression.
So, if it doesn’t take a diagnosed mental health disorder to disturb our emotional health and function, imagine what it must be like for people who have special needs? What if all of these things I mentioned above are happening at once?
One thing I’ve learned is that we can’t help anybody else if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first. So, here is what I’m thinking about…how can I use this time to:
1) Develop and improve my psychological self-care?
2) Expand my acquisition of daily habits that maintain and enhance my emotional health?
3) Decide what I put in my emotional care first aid kit?
4) Contemplate how can I thrive, not just survive?
5) Figure out how I can inspire and encourage others so that they can thrive?
Worst-case scenario, pondering these questions will at least keep my mind focused on the good, the positive, and the things that can change the world around me.
Until next time,
This blog’s title was Inspired from Zig Ziegler, and some of the content from
“The Pandemic Created a Watershed Moment for Emotional Health”, by Guy Winch.