Focusing on Mental Health During COVID-19:
How to Find Peace in the Pandemic
If you read the title of this article and rolled your eyes right before you said something like “peace in the pandemic? Yeah right”—then know we’re right there with you.
Everything that’s happening in the world right now feels uncertain and shaky and scary—and while we’re usually all about optimism, we’re not going to sit here and deny that right now, we’re all stressed, we’re all anxious, we’re all depressed, and we’re all a little afraid.
And you know what? That’s okay.
There’s no way to feel normal or be normal because what’s happening just isn’t normal. If you’re struggling with that, feeling unsure or stressed, and don’t know what to do right at this moment, know that you’re not alone.
While we can’t promise you that reading our article is going to solve every last one of your pandemic problems (we really wish we could, though), we can promise that reading through and giving these tips a try can maybe help you start focusing on what matters most—your overall well-being.
It might feel like there’s a whole mess of stuff to take care of right now that’s out of your control—finances, work, family, friends, health, etc. But by taking control of how you care for your mental health, you can start taking steps toward ensuring you’re healthy, balanced, and better equipped to deal with the uncertainty that might come your way.
Set Some Healthy Ground Rules
When you make the effort to develop strong foundations that you adhere to, you set yourself up to better handle stressors that might come your way. In other words, if you stick to some basics in your daily life, your stress threshold will be better managed.
When we talk about basics, we mean things like getting enough sleep at night, practicing good night-time habits (no scrolling before bed), practicing proper hygiene, eating healthy food, exercising a little bit every day.
These things can feel overwhelming and tough when you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, but by being firm on a few of these, you can set yourself and your body up better for dealing with other things out of your control—like additional stress from the pandemic.
We’re not saying that by eating a balanced breakfast and running 1 mile every day you’re magically going to not be stressed, but small, deliberate things that focus on your health and well-being can help you better combat emotional issues.
Know Yourself & Know Your Triggers
It’s important to know yourself and know what type of things count as “red flags” within your behavior.
Why? Because if you’re able to recognize those triggers, you can implement strategies to help combat those red flags before they devolve. For example, if you know that feeling jittery and tense leads to you obsessively checking the news to get updates on the pandemic, which only makes you feel more tense and jittery (and the cycle continues), learning how to target that red flag can help you do something healthy and positive before you continue the cycle. So, if you recognize that you’re feeling tense, instead of feeding into that, take a walk. Pet your dog. Practice breathing and meditation.
Do something that’s good for you that’s going to help break that cycle before it devolves into stronger feelings of anxiety.
Create a Routine
Don’t allow the pressure of your day to loom over you. Start your day with a routine that you enjoy so you can get yourself in the right headspace. Wake up, stretch, drink a glass of water, make a delicious breakfast, pet your dog, go for a walk—then tackle the rougher parts of your day.
By doing this, you’re giving yourself a gentle way to transition into your day without just diving into full stress mode.
Ask for Help
Whether you’re someone who regularly has therapy sessions or not, reaching out and asking for help is important—especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, sad, or angry. If you have a counselor you meet with regularly, see if they’ll transition to a virtual or phone session—there are lots of professionals out there who have taken this route to ensure their patients are taken care of during this trying time.
If you’re new to therapy but know that connecting with someone would be good for you, there are tons and tons of online resources that are available for you. With these resources, you’ll be connected with licensed professionals who can text, email, call, video chat, and more with you to help you work through what you’re feeling.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help—it’s something we should all do.
Get Help if You Need It
There’s no shame in needing help right now (or ever, honestly, but you get the point). Currently, we’re all dealing with something we’ve never quite dealt with before—and when we say we, we mean more than just barbershops, we’re talking about the entire world.
This is new territory for all of us, so if you’re hurting, don’t feel like you’ve failed—just ask for help. If your shop has been shut down and you’re truly not able to shoulder the intense burden, that’s okay.
Right now, the US Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest, federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses (like your barbershop). These loans can truly help in your time of need, and if you’re struggling, we whole-heartedly encourage you to (at the very least) see what your options are.
For information on how to apply, contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t Totally Isolate Yourself
Yes, we’re all supposed to be social distancing—and you should be. But just because we can’t be with people right now doesn’t mean we need to totally isolate ourselves.
We live in a world that’s full of technology that can help us connect—so take advantage of that. Host a virtual happy hour for your barbershop, play an online game with your dad, have an hour-long chat with your BFF, watch a show at the same time as your sister. There are a ton of things you can do to connect with the people you love without actually being in the same room with them. Explore that and reach out to your loved ones!
Focus on Compassion
Be easy with yourself and be gentle with yourself—and don’t forget to be easy and gentle with other people, too. We’re all going through this in our own way. We’re all battling our stress and anxiety in our own ways.
We’re all struggling with this. If you’re not dealing with this in a “normal” way, you’re not alone. Like we said, this isn’t a normal thing, so there’s no normal way to act.
Be patient with yourself and grant yourself some grace—you’ve got this.
If you have any advice for your fellow barbering community on how to start the journey toward taking care of their mental health, we encourage you to share the information here.
Drop a comment in our comment section below to encourage, inspire, show support, or even ask for advice on how to start taking care of your mental health.
Above all, remember, you’re loved, you’re important, and you’re going to get through this!!