Mental health challenges during a pandemic

Photo from communityreachcenter.com.

Now more than ever we need to consider how social distancing will impact our mental health over the next few months. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a retired oncology nurse and psychotherapist. As Editor-in-Chief of the billsmafia.com blog, I’ve chosen to use our platform to disperse information and provide resources to help disseminate helpful information as we move through an unprecedented crisis dealing with COVID-19. [and of course posts about the Bills’ awesome free agency season].

While the focus of attention has rightfully been placed on the physical aspects of dealing with COVID-19, we need to also be aware of what to expect from a mental health standpoint. Social isolation for any length of time is extremely difficult and at this point we are facing an extended period of it ahead.

Here is a very useful article by David Faris outlining some of the expected mental health challenges we face in the days ahead. This will require all of us to pay attention to signs of emotional distress within us, as well as by the people around us. We need to be kind to one another and understand we all have different ways of coping.

For example, people who are highly extroverted may struggle with social distancing more than those who need to be alone to recharge their batteries. Some people require the presence of others around them to become emotionally recharged. Some of us need alone time to recharge.

All of this will impact how we get along with others in our household while being confined to quarters. Be mindful that this is something that is innate and it doesn’t mean one way is any better than the other in terms of traits. It’s just how we relate to the world around us and the best thing we can do for each other is respect those differences.

If you’re in a tight space with an introverted person, try to understand their anxiety will increase the more they are forced to have people in their face all the time. Encourage and allow them some personal space to recuperate.

If you’re an introverted person living with extroverted people, be extra patient with their need to engage with you. Their anxiety is likely to rise if they feel alone and afraid. It’s so important we make the extra effort to be supportive and non-judgmental at this time.

Most of all, stay connected with people who bring constructive conversation to the table. That’s why I’m starting a thread each day on Twitter (@RobynMundyWYO) to help people stay engaged in our BillsMafia community which spans the globe!

I’ll be continuing to post articles here as we move through this COVID-19 crisis together. I’ll also be passing along pertinent health information on my Twitter account. Hang in there, and think about how good the Buffalo Bills are going to be when we watch them play football again :)

COVID-19 will challenge us in ways we are yet to realize. Let’s not only “flatten the curve” … let’s get ahead of it and stay ahead of it!

Editor’s babble: A big salute to all my nursing colleagues and other health professionals out there doing their thing. Find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO blabbing about something.

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is Editor-in-Chief of the BillsMafia blog at BillsMafia.com. She's a retired oncology nurse & psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. Robyn lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the foothills of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @robynmundyWYO.

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