Mental Health First Aid Kit: Millennials
In my previous article, I’ve brought up how senior citizens are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus due to severe lung and heart conditions. The next group to worry about are millennials. Millennials are people born from the years of 1981 to 1996. As senior citizens strive to get better, millennials don’t give a wink about this existential crisis. By no means am I trying to sound harsh. There is a reason it’s like that. Millennials are emotionally drained than other generation groups. A majority don’t take care of their mental health, and with social distancing being advised, it could lead to long term mental health issues. If you are a millennial reading this, please be attentive to what I say. You are an important generation that makes up most of the population. If you can learn to take care of yourself first, everything else will take care of itself.
According to a survey by the American Psychiatry Association, millennials are found to be the most anxious generation out of them all. When psychotherapist Tess Brigham asks her clients what they do to take care of their anxiety, their response is usually “Honestly, I can’t afford to think about it. I’m too busy trying to keep up with work and making sure I have enough food for the week.” In result, her clients are not even thinking to take care of themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reported that millennials don’t consider this pandemic as a big deal believing that it won’t affect them. I’m not saying that you should worry about it, but I am also not saying to be nonchalant. Take the precautionary steps to take care of your mind, body and soul. Adopting new strategies for your mental health will not only help deal with uncertainty, it will make your communications with your loved ones much stronger.
Here are some strategies on how to take care of your mental health and ease up any anxiety you may have.
Reflect on your feelings. If not now, then when? Talk to yourself and get to know your deepest fears and insecurities. It’s absolutely okay to admit how you feel because it’s only between you and you.
Maintain your new routine…with your old one. This may be strange to read but if you started working from home, and you work in an office, try to go through the same day to day routine as if you were going to the office. Maintaining your routine can give familiarity and structure rather than anxiety. You are able to function a lot better at work.
Go outside. I have said it once and I’ll say it again, go outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine! Just because we are told to be isolated doesn’t mean that we can’t get some fresh air. Go to the park and breathe in some O2! It helps with mental and physical wellbeing.
There isn’t much you can control. This is something most millennials need to accept even for those who don’t care much about the coronavirus. Reason being has to do with your safety and ensuring that you take care yourself. You cannot control what people do, you can only control what you do. This means washing your hands or using hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and taking care of your immune system with plenty of vitamins and sleep. This leads me to the next tip…
Accept what you can’t control.
If you are facing anxiety, and you are going through thoughts such as, “what will happen next? How long will we be trapped in our homes?” Stop. Take a second to breathe. Do it with me. Ready? Breathe in (hold for 5 seconds), breathe out (hold for 5 seconds). Now, listen to me. We have no control over what others do. We can only help ourselves in order to help others. Try going “downstream” with your thoughts. Here is what I mean, when you think “I will never be able to go outside again.” Then, try to find a better feeling or better relieving thought. From here you can think,
“Well, it’s not all bad. I can finally relax and catch up on some of my favorite shows.”
You may also think,
“What about groceries and supplies? What if stores run out and never restock?”
But, then you’ll think,
“That most likely won’t happen. Chain suppliers are aware of the issue and are working hard to restock.”
Do you see where I am going with this? Guide yourself to a better feeling thought so you can ease up on anxiety and depression. I learned this tip from Esther (Abraham) Hicks, a pioneer and author of The Astonishing Power of Emotions, which details more about going downstream and guiding yourself to the next relieving thought.
Say your blessings. These are the times where you give the most thanks for your life. It’s uplifting and sad at the same time. It’s important to give thanks for what you have even if you start off doing it once. However, if you are counting your blessings only during the bad times then that is the only time you’ll feel thankful. Practice giving thanks at least once a day or every other day. Pretty soon, you will get used to it and it will be part of your daily routine.
Please, turn off the tv, please! It is okay to feel informed but not okay to feel overwhelmed. Obsessing over the coronavirus brings no solution. It just exacerbates to more worry. There is a great quote by Dalai Lama the 14th, “If it can be solved, there is no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.” Words to live by.
In brief, take care of your mental well being before you take care of others. Do your part by washing your hands and covering your cough. Rather than adapt to the thought, “ It’s not a big deal,” be vigilant and take responsibility for your own actions. I cannot emphasize that need for mental health. As I have said before, Counseling on Demand is always here for you. If you cannot talk to someone, then find a way to cope with your anxiety. Write or draw out your anxiety. Do something to relieve stress and accept the existential pandemic we have going on. In the end, nothing so bad will last forever.