From February 2020 to now, you’ve changed. You may or may not even realize it, but you and everyone else in the world have changed. This pandemic has greatly affected us in so many ways, and changed who we are as a collective and individually. While change is scary and uncomfortable, it can be a good thing.
You have developed coping skills that you never had before, so you are stronger than you were months ago. You have built up resilience. We had no choice in this matter. We did not choose to experience this pandemic. And we had limited first-hand experiences to pull from. So internally, our brains created new neural pathways and formed new coping mechanisms to adjust to our ‘new world’. You adapted, quickly, and have survived thus far!
But with that said, I can not ignore how much this pandemic has affected us emotionally and mentally. Those of us who had anxiety before COVID-19, have more anxiety. Those who never had anxiety before, now are worrying about all the unknowns and uncertainty that has not left our presence. And we are all grieving. Life will never, ever be the same, again. Think about that for a moment. That is a big loss of everything that we were attached to and connected to. We are grieving the life we once knew. It’s a sad and overwhelming feeling that many people tend to avoid since it makes us vulnerable and uncomfortable. But no matter how much you try to avoid feeling grief or anxiety, the emotions come back since the threat of COVID-19 is still hovering over us.
To better understand why you may be anxious or feel grief, let's briefly dive into our bodies and brains. Big changes affect our autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is made up of our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and our sympathetic nervous systems (SNS). These systems were designed to serve a purpose and are meant to be in an equilibrium state so our body is in balance. This means everything inside is balanced such as hormones, blood sugar levels, heart rate, etc. But we live in a constant state of stress all the time, a go-go-go mentally and lifestyle. And this puts our ANS out of balance as the SNS is constantly turned on. This is how our bodies become imbalanced and stressed, and when we are stressed, we can feel anxious, sad, frustrated, depressed, etc. Other systems in our body are affected, such as our emotional functions, via the limbic system in our brains, which then affects our prefrontal cortex. We become “off” because we aren’t thinking as clearly. Our body is focused more on the stressors that life presents, and our feelings, emotions, and behaviors reflect those states.
Life events such as COVID-19 are not something to be taken lightly when it comes to our emotional and mental health. But we should never take these issues lightly, as it has been for ages. Our society shuns away from mental health because (in my opinion), the majority of people do not fully understand their own emotions. I want to make a shift so everyone has self-awareness at an early age, and grow emotionally stronger, to be better individuals. We, as a collective, treat each other better and are happier people when we have control of our emotions.
COVID-19 has exposed the mental health issue we have in our country and around the world. When you ignore these topics, people do not function at their full capacity. You see relationships and friendships fail, unproductive employees, projects half-completed, dreams unfulfilled. Anxiety, depression, unresolved issues, all increase. And it does not have to be this way. We have control of our emotions and our brains. We can make a change, to all feel better, and live our lives at full capacity. We just need to be taught this. My dream- we should all have PhDs in emotional mastery.
I am teaching the series “Mind Warriors”, and hosting this with my friend Britany, co-founder of MEtreat. I want people to become masters of their minds, by understanding their emotions and behaviors. I teach clients self-awareness tools and the knowledge to empower their minds to thrive in life. These classes are combined with a yoga flow, taught by Britany. The first few classes are free, as I dive into more detail on how COVID-19 has changed you and tips to feel better if you are experiencing anxiety or grief. I hope you will join us. Sign up here- https://www.metreatco.com/event-calendar
Please share this with a friend or someone you may know who may benefit from this blog post or would be interested in the “Mind Warriors” series.