As a licensed clinical social worker, I have been asked how to help people maintain hope during these tough times. Here are my thoughts on how you may support and improve your mental health.
Ways to become stronger and hopeful when the world is crumbling:
- Maintain some sort of schedule: If you can’t keep to your regular school/work schedule, set a new one. Decide when you will awake, when you will eat and sleep. The world seems less chaotic when you don’t go into permanent “vacation” or “disaster” mode.
- Stop reading the news: Disable alerts on your phone and computer/tablets. To stay informed, set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night. Set a timer and stick to it. Doing too much of anything will overwhelm us and become unhealthy.
- Find ways to serve: We help to reduce our own feelings of helplessness when we serve our brothers and sisters with an open heart. Check on people around you. Drop a meal off at a home where both parents may have to work and their school aged children are home alone. Knock on the door and then stand way back (3-5 feet) and ask your elderly neighbors if they need anything. Find ways to act in kindness and compassion. This will lift your soul.
- Remember that this life is exactly as it is designed to be: The world is supposed to have illness and health, joy and heartache, death and life. Anytime you start to feel resentful, weighed down, angry or fearful, practice accepting life as it is. The blessings and goodness of life far outweigh it’s ills and pains. Lean into today with a whole heart and be cautious, careful, and at peace with the fact that life will happen. You are already on the ride of life, don’t fight it so you can enjoy it’s goodness, even during times of trial and crisis.
- Practice an open heart and nonjudgmental stance: Stop judging the future, be open to learn the lessons it may bring. Stop judging people as either good or bad. When we practice a nonjudgmental stance, we take off our filters and can better see life in all of its glory! We then are open to compassion. Compassion for our fellow humans lifts them and us. The person who is rude in the grocery store becomes a fellow traveler with fears, dreams, and hurts. A person who we just don’t understand….yet. It allows us to love.
I hope this is helpful. May we take this time of worry, confusion and stress and use it to reach out to each other in a way that ennobles us all. Pain becomes a refining process and we see the face of God watching over us and refining us as we live this wonderful, challenging, and ever so worthwhile life.