Black Mental Health Matters #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

Updated: May 17, 2020

Navigating Mental Health Amidst COVID-19

A Community Reminder to Practice Self-care

by Taylor Lonas

Despite the recent reopening of the state of Georgia, the effects of the covid-19 pandemic have yet to be alleviated for most residents. This is particularly true for the African American community that has suffered from the spread of the virus at largely disproportionate rates to our counterparts. The state health department has reported that African Americans account for more 80% of hospitalized patients and more than 50% of all deaths related to the coronavirus. As a matter of fact, the state saw an increase in cases by 1,000 patients within a single 24-hour period after the shelter-in-place order was lifted.

With families struggling to secure consistent income, stimulus checks, essential items and accessible healthcare, it is easy to understand why many may push mental health check-ins to the bottom of their “to do” lists.

With an ever-updating barrage of disheartening news coverage each hour, children and adults alike are quickly becoming aware of the toll the pandemic is taking on their psychological health and well-being. Entering the month of May, take some time to check out the tips & resources below for insight on how to incorporate mental self-care into even the busiest everyday routines.

1. Virtual Social Interaction

Although encouraged to participate in “social distancing” and remain indoors, do not refrain from actively communicating with the friends and family that make up your support system. Whether it be via phone or video conference calls, intentionally carve out time to interact with others. Now more than ever it is essential to check in on each other and share stories of recovery and encouragement.

2. Fresh Air & Physical Activity

Physical exercise is a component of well-being that affects mental health. Regardless of whether you walk around the neighborhood or simply sit and stretch on your porch, spending time in nature is known to alleviate stress and anxiety. Setting aside at least thirty minutes per day to step outside the walls of your home and into fresh air can positively impact the state of your mind.

3. Morning Meditation & Reflection

Of those fortunate enough to be working from home at this time, many report to their home “offices” while simultaneously caring for others in their households. In the absence of separation between work and home, it is easy to lose track of time and forget to tend to your personal needs. Simply setting aside 5 to 10 minutes each morning to sit and reflect on your goals for the day can bring about a positive mindset. Use this time to engage in healthy self-reflection and meditation. These introspective acts can be effective coping mechanisms during this particularly worrisome time.

In the words of civil rights activist Audre Lorde, ‘Caring for yourself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” Protect your health by preserving your mind!

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