We have different struggles in fighting the battle against COVID-19 – some find it easier to deal with the outbreak, while others are fighting for their lives. Whatever the case is, checking up on the mental health of your friends and family members is needed more than ever during this crisis. You don’t have to be a mental health expert to reach out to someone suffering from anxiety or depression. Here are some ways how you can help.
Pick Up The Phone
It’s difficult to check up on your friends and loved ones because you can’t see them face-to-face because of the COVID-19 crisis. Observe what they are trying to convey in your conversation or what they post online. According to Dr. Arthur Cassidy, Ph.D., “It shouldn’t be intensive monitoring. Just make a scale from 1 to 10 to determine how you think they are feeling, one being happy, 10 being abnormally reserved, and unhappy.”
If you notice that there’s something unusual with their behavior, it is time to pick up the phone and try to ask them sensitively how they are feeling. It may be through messaging your loved ones on social media, video calling them, or texting. This simple act shows that you are ready to listen to them.
You Don’t Need To Say Anything
When your friend is confessing their feelings, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fix their problem or give them advice on how to deal with their struggles. It is enough that there is someone who can lend an ear and will take their situation seriously. But reassure your friend that what they share is strictly confidential.
It is also crucial for you to listen to them non-judgmentally. Pay attention to what your friends are saying and show them that you genuinely care about them.
Make Them Feel They’re Not Alone
Reassure them that everything will be alright, and it is reasonable to experience fear, anxiety, and sadness in this trying time. Tell your friends that they are not alone in this struggle. Your support can go a long way to your loved one; so, remind them that help is available, and you are always there for them no matter what happens.
Keep Your Loved Ones Healthy and Active
We always grab our jar of Nutella or bag of chips whenever we’re sad or stressed. While these foods give us comfort, getting into this eating habit does not make us better in the long run. Eating healthy food can bring out a healthier mind and body.
If your friend is on the cycle of eating unhealthy food or being a couch potato, help them get out of this bad habit by showing them fun and healthy recipes they could try. You can also video-call them and schedule a yoga or workout session together.
You must understand that people have their reasons why they find it difficult to ask for help. Do not force them to talk to you, as this may make them feel uncomfortable and helpless. Just keep an open line to your loved ones in case they reach out to you for help.
Remind That They Can Seek Professional Help
Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Thankfully, there are several mental health professionals all over that offer online therapy sessions during this pandemic. Mental health professionals can help them better in dealing with anxiety or depression while maintaining social distancing.
Take Care Of Yourself As Well
As much as you want to listen to your friend’s problems, you might get upset too. Take a step back if it causes you distress, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Trying to do something that you find enjoyable or relaxing—everyone’s mental health matters, whether there’s a pandemic or not.
Stepping Toward Mental Health And Happiness
Combatting anxiety or depression during the COVID-19 pandemic becomes difficult because you cannot reach out to your loved ones physically. But hopefully, these ways mentioned above can alleviate the pain you and your friends are feeling.
Even when the situation we have right now is requiring us to distance ourselves from each other physically, do not forget that there are lots of options to connect and still be together.