Pandemics are stressful and everyone’s sensitivity is heightened, but there are a few ways to holistically cope.
Upon speaking to Social Worker and Licensed Mental Health Expert, Niqua Prude on the matter, we learned that more people are getting mentally ill specifically this year.
“The reason for the rise in mental illness is do largely to the pandemic. This pandemic has basically placed the country in an economic hardship. Many people have lost their jobs, some their entire business and it leads people down a path at which they don’t know how to properly cope during these times. Unemployment is causing major anxiety and depression because they feel as though they can not adequately provide for their themselves and their families. A large reason people are suffering tremendously from mental illness is due to the political climate we are living in. We are living in a time of social unrest. Even in the year 2020, people of color still have to deal with the pressures of systemic racism. Throw a pandemic and quarantine in there, it’s a recipe for disaster.“Niqua Prude; Founder of B Unique by Niqua – [Alabama, 2020.]
She proceeds to share with us how people everyday are constantly admitting that they are scared and full of anxiety because they fear the unknown. People are worried about their next meal or how to pay their daily expenses.
Unfortunately, people are not talking about what ails them.
They are scared to talk about or take steps to take because of a number of variables. For instance, a number of people are hesitant in showing vulnerability for being judged as a sign of weakness. Secondly, there is still a stigma that is attached to mental health, especially what Prude has noticed in her work within the Black American community. People don’t want to be pigeonholed as crazy; so they keep their issues to themselves or turn to family for comfort instead of seeking the proper treatment from a license professional.
Some of the best things to implement daily is to find a self care routine to implement. Self-care does not have to be a substantial amount or time consuming. It could be anything as simple as taking 15 minutes out of your day and do absolutely nothing. Or perhaps, it could be something like exercising to let go of your stress and take a breather.
It’s important to implement self care because we have to remember that our bodies are not machines.
“One of the most valuable things I do for self care is exercise. After struggling with my weight and depression in my early adult life, I realized that I was so busy pleasing everyone else, I was neglecting myself. I replaced all the negative behavior, with something positive, which was exercise. As result of me consistently using exercise as self care technique, I lost 150lbs. Not only did I look and feel better physically, my mental health also improves drastically as well because I was putting all that negative energy into something positive and it really helped push me and give me motivation.”Niqua Prude; Founder of B Unique by Niqua – [Alabama, 2020.]
Implementing self care can help you relax, promote better self esteem, and self awareness. It’s also important to remember, we can’t be there for someone else if we are not 100% ourselves. Practicing self-care is one of the first steps at tackling mental issues.