There has been quite a bit of attention focused on mental and physical well-being. Questions like, “how are you doing?” or “are you feeling okay?” have been communicated back and forth across phone and internet. Many of us experience holiday blues every year from loneliness, distance from friends and family or the loss of a loved one. COVID-19 has increased those numbers as many are trying to social distance, but it comes with a lot of hesitation. Low energy, depression, and anxiety are just a few signs to look for in people that are experiencing the blues. This could be driven by other social economic issues or the loss of a loved one. Luckily, there are more than a few ways to lift your spirits and get a solid plan of action together to raise your mood and ensure good mental health.
Mental Health and Grief
First, let’s start with dealing with the loss of a family member or friend. I know firsthand what grief feels like on a very personal level. The key to coping with the loss of life is to understand it’s okay to experience emotion. You might have a good cry while hugging your pillow, express anger, lose your appetite, get headaches or feel stressed. If you are experiencing any of these, then it’s always helpful to reach out to family, friends, and even your primary care doctor for support.
Get Support for Your Mental Health
Support can come in various forms. When you reach out to your family and friends, let them know you are having a tough time and would like to talk. One thing that can make it easier is to talk about your pain but remember the good times with the ones you’ve lost. The person you lost would not want to see you in pain. Instead, take this time to celebrate their life. You can be creative and go to their favorite restaurant, cook their favorite meal, watch their favorite show, or create a montage of photos of your favorite memories. In my home, we created Taco Tuesday in memory of a loved one that cooked the best tacos!
Then to add to the fun, we created a photo book and video where each family member told their funniest moment or most vivid memory of our loved one. This is helpful to get everyone involved so you will know you are not alone in your feelings. What you are experiencing is normal and there is nothing to feel guilty about.
Talk with a Mental Health Professional
Lastly, check in with a professional, whether a grief counselor, primary care, or a faith-based group. These are all healthy choices in maintaining good mental health. The first step is acknowledging your emotions and then dealing with them. It’s never too late to put yourself first!
About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.