Select Page

Emotional Check-Up: Taking Care of Our Mental Health during COVID-19

It can be challenging for many of us to cope with the vast life and employment changes and uncertainties that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has imposed on us, with almost no warning. As we try to manage necessary tasks and support others, it is important to take time to process our own reactions and truly take care of ourselves emotionally as well as physically.

Scott Berinato in the Harvard Business Review examines how for many of us, the loss of life as we knew it, with no certainty as to when things will get better, is likely to produce feelings of grief. We may be at varying stages of grief as we confront the current situation.
Read “That Discomfort We’re Feeling Is Grief”)

Beyond grief over changed work, life and/or financial circumstances, many of us are experiencing considerable anxiety over current and anticipated difficulties. In Good Housekeeping, Zee Krstic points out that mental health experts say this “is actually a healthy reaction.”

Ms. Krstic provides tips for keeping perspective in the face of the daily load of negative media stories and fears expressed on social media.
Read “6 Healthy Ways to Manage your Coronavirus Anxiety, According to Psychologists”

Many experts encourage staying in touch with loved ones, noting that some of us are rediscovering that our phones can be used for conversations. Sharing feelings with those close to us may help alleviate our stress and give us deeper opportunities to express support of their concerns.

There’s an App for That 
Mental health apps have proliferated in recent years, with many now attracting high levels of interest. One of the best-known is Headspace, a meditation training and anxiety reduction app. Others include:

Breathe2Relax. Known for its ease of use, this app teaches breathing techniques for stress management;
Happify. This self-guided app is designed to help users experience more positive emotions. Its exercises and games are evidence-based as positive psychology and mindfulness research went into their development;
Anxiety Coach (from the Mayo Clinic). This self-help app is structured to help users address fears and worries using CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) strategies. The app is designed to help users examine and develop plans to master fears.

Therapists who are members of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America have rated and reviewed these and other popular mental health apps. Some apps are free, while most others are low-cost.
View “ADAA Reviewed Mental Health Apps”

Find Some Joy Online 
Amidst all of the concerning information, there are also positive online experiences to be had. For example, after the recent closure of their school for social distancing, Boston Conservatory at Berklee students and alumni collaborated online for a virtual production of the 1960s song by Burt Bacharach/Hal David, “What the World Needs Now is Love.”

Inspiring content from well before anyone heard of COVID-19 also remains available. This video, posted on YouTube in 2013, provides a moving interpretation of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Ode To Joy. The flash mob of singers and musicians in Spain who are featured in the video was started by a young girl.

Do you have ideas, insights or shareable resources that may help the orthodontic community stay strong during this time? Please forward them to ggardner@aaortho.org.