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Mental health: tips from a shrink to keep morale high in this particular context

Teleworking, confinement, unemployment, financial difficulties. Mental health is particularly affected at the start of the year, after several months of a health crisis. Here is the advice of, psychiatrist to face this psychological exhaustion that affects us all.
The World Health Organization has described Mental Wellbeing as a condition in which people can maintain general well-being and physically and mentally function. For psychiatrists, good mental health means a good "balance of life", which is turned upside down in this unprecedented health crisis. For the specialist, such an event had an impact on 100% of people at different scales.

Mental health: psychological exhaustion of the population inevitable?

The effects of this health crisis on morale are diverse. Psychologically, blame the blow: these ongoing back and forth since last March, between announcements of restrictions, others more "positive", the wait for a vaccine, and this impression of not seeing the end of the tunnel, are more and more difficult to bear.
Especially since the second confinement, we have been witnessing the mental exhaustion of the population. In question, an impossible projection causes a state of anxiety that persists in many people and the appearance in others of depressive disorders.
In particular, mental health professionals are currently observing in their patients:
  • Anxiety
  • of depression
  • Some sleep disorders
  • Addictive relapses ( alcohol, drugs, etc.)
In addition to the daily restrictions put in place to fight the spread of the virus, there is unemployment, a complicated financial situation, or a tendency to (too) take refuge in work, sometimes to the point of burnout.
These different factors affect us head-on because, as the specialist reminds us, "humans are made up of both habits (which are currently upset) and a need for projection. We need to. Objectives to move forward (vacation and weekend plans, an idea of ​​the salary they will receive at the end of the month, professional development, etc.) ".
However, our habits, our little rituals put in place to feel safe, are necessarily impacted or even upset by the health situation, and projections are difficult, even impossible in this context.
"This projection and this ritualization are two axes on which humans normally rely, which have been undermined since last March during the first confinement. Which contributes to this psychological exhaustion", explains the psychiatrist.
"What we are currently experiencing could be compared to the movement of a wave: with each new wave of announcements of hope and despair, we feel that it is more and more difficult ..." she adds.
Indeed, suppose many people experienced the first confinement as something "new", like a "discovery", an "unprecedented event" that we are experiencing collectively. In that case, everyone could then dream of summer vacation. , plan for the short term, with renewed hope, which has gradually faded, with the measures put in place at the end of October. Then, this beginning of the year, after special holidays for all, is yet another blow to morale: we start 2021 with rules and new restrictive measures, despite the current vaccination campaign.
Suppose in November and December, professionals observed, like every year with seasonal depression and the lack of light, a peak in consultations. In that case, it is at this time that would be even more numerous to need psychological help.
"With this alternation of hope and despair, which creates this weariness, the coming months will be difficult on a psychological level: all the conditions are there for people to be exhausted!" laments the psychiatrist.

Mental health: the advice of the shrink to try to keep morale despite everything

But then, if exhaustion is almost inevitable for each of us, how can we prevent it and avoid suffering too much?
As explains, we are made up of habits, and this routine can reassure us. Similarly, our tendency to project installs us in the movement, the desire to move forward. And it is precisely on these two pillars that we must rely on in this period of the risk of psychological exhaustion.

Maintain the habits that reassure us

The little daily rituals, our habits in the morning, in the evening, comfort us ... So, let's make sure to maintain them. Teleworking, children at home, closed restaurants. Although certain constraints make our routines different, it is still possible to structure our days by adapting to the current situation.
Thus, it is essential, confinement or not, teleworking or not, unemployment or not, to continue to get up at fixed times, to prepare as if you were going out (take a shower, get dressed, put on makeup). Making sure you get enough sleep in the morning will set the mood for the rest of the day.
It is also important to keep mealtimes and not skip them, even if you stay at home! Did you use your breakfast before March 2020? Take the time to do this before you start your day! Likewise, we don't skip lunch and dinner. Again, not shifting your usual hours will help you keep a pace favorable to your psychological well-being.
Do you enjoy your coffee with your colleagues before starting the afternoon? Plan a few minutes by video to meet up during the day around a virtual coffee.
The same goes for screens: just because you don't have the same leisure time as before, it doesn't mean you have to take refuge on screens. Think about how much time you spent on your smartphone or tablet before, and be careful not to exceed that usage time. And if you can take advantage of it to reduce your consumption by turning to other activities at home (cooking, drawing, reading, etc.), it's even better!
This also applies to alcohol consumption. When you drink with dinner, do you like a bottle of wine? Savor it the same way, but don't go overboard, just because the atmosphere is gloomy ...
All these little habits will help you structure your days and weeks and contribute to your well-being by reassuring you.

Adapt your projections according to the context

Living in the present moment, maintaining our habits and small daily routines will comfort and security. Even in this context of psychological distress for a large part of the population, continuing to make projects is really important.
"Indeed, it is currently not possible to project in 6 months, but we can adapt its projections to the situation by projecting only on the same evening, or the next weekend!" encourages the psychiatrist.
Continuing to set goals, planning moments of pleasure, such as a virtual aperitif with friends on Friday evening, a walk in the forest next weekend, or a cake workshop with the children on Sunday, allows you to stay the course!
"Even if these are small projects with very short terms, the idea is not to get up on Monday morning, wondering what we are going to be able to do during the week", explains the specialist.
Anticipate, and write down in your diary your virtual meeting with your girlfriends, your goal for the week, the yoga session that you treat yourself to Wednesday evening ... And keep a To-do list of the things you want to do during the day, in the week, and take pleasure in crossing off the tasks performed, you will at least have the feeling of moving forward!

Cultivate the positive every day

Indeed, in this context of a health crisis, adopting a positive attitude is not necessarily easy. But we can try mental coaching: in the morning, you make a list of your goals for the day, but in the evening, before going to bed, take a few minutes to congratulate yourself on the day. Write down all the little pleasures of the day on a sheet of paper, the things for which you are grateful, even the things that seem to you on the surface "of little interest", like that ray of sunshine that warmed your face during your walk, the new episode of your favorite series which has just been released, the phone call from a friend who made you feel good today ... The goal? Only keep positive things in mind before sleeping!
"Dwell on all the little things we haven't looked at until now, think about how lucky you are: not what you don't have or don't have, but what you still have ".
Mindfulness Meditation Can Help You Cultivate This Gratitude to observe the many small pleasures you have on your way, which one does not necessarily see in the daily rush!
Finally, if things are not going well during this complicated period for everyone, if you cannot see things differently, do not hesitate to consult a specialist. Outside help, even for one or two sessions, can help you change your outlook and see things differently. Telehealth Psychiatry Services makes it possible to obtain very short waiting times.