COVID-19 has been one of the many surprises that 2020 has had to offer. I think that everyone had the thought “Well, it can only go up from here,” after the Australia bushfires, Impeachment trials, Kobe, Gigi Bryant and seven other passengers died, UK withdraws from the EU, Harvey Weinstein is found guilty, COVID19 lockdown started, Tiger King taking over the internet and I could go on and on. Then George Floyd passed away and the protests have erupted throughout the nation. Every single event that has taken place during the first 6 months of the year could put you in a tailspin mentally.
COVID19 has completely shaken up every single person’s lives and sanity, any sense of normalcy was stripped, and now we have all learned how flexible we can be when things are taken out of our control. While some days are a lot tougher than others, as a nation we had had to figure out how to survive in a more isolated world. While unfortunately military couples are more than used to having Skype dates or spending time apart from our loved ones, it has been rough getting used to being so separate from our extended families. While cases reported have varied throughout the states everyone has seen the impact that this virus has caused.
The Department of Defense suggested to focus on self-care during COVID19 and encouraged reaching out to others during this time of isolation. While self-care is a phrase thrown around a lot and constantly suggested I have had moments where I sit and think, “Okay, well what the hell does that exactly mean?” Some days certain things will work for me and other days when I am in a bad place mentally it is hard to take a moment to think of what I could do for self-care. Below are various examples of what self-care can truly be and not just a meme on social media.
- Take a step away from social media and phone
- Do something nice for someone else, completely anonymous
- Get out and exercise
- Go through your closet and purge the clothes you no longer wear and donate
- Develop a regular sleep routine
- Call a family member and check in
- Drink more water
- Writer positive affirmations
- Go camping (even in your backyard)
While these are only a few suggestions I hope they will give you a new look at how you can use self-care to keep yourself sane during this time, I highly suggest taking a moment and looking up ways to truly utilize self-care. The Military Health System released an article with various websites and apps that can be helpful during self-isolation and quarantine to keep you connected and working on self-care.
COVID19 has taken more lives than just those who have had confirmed cases of COVID19. Suicide rates have increased, an article from Psychology Today utilized an article written by Mark A. Regger of the Univerity of Washington titled “Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019 – A Perfect Storm?” “suggested that the unprecedented public health actions needed to contain the new pandemic, along with social distancing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and stress due to job loss, may well result in far more suicides in the years to come.” Knowing the warning signs are half the battle to help support our loved ones during their times of need. When my husband was first in the military I had heard about the shocking number of veterans that die by suicide and in that same breathe I have never been more proud of my husband and his buddies who have all been there for each other when one or more of their fellow veterans are really struggling to find hope. Warning signs for suicidal behavior from the Suicide Prevention Hotline include, talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, feeling trapped, being a burden to others, an increase in the use of alcohol or drugs, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing or isolating themselves, showing rage, or extreme mood swings.
While mental health should always be important to everyone, COVID19 has added an increase in the need to put more of a focus on making sure your mental health is a huge priority to keep everyone sane during this time.
Resources for those suffering:
Veteran’s Crisis Line – https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
1-800-273-TALK (8255) press 1 or Text 838255
Calling from overseas:
Europe: 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118
Korea: 0808 555 118 or DSN 118
Afghanistan: 00 1 800 273 8255 or DSN 111
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255 for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Child Abuse Hotline