Managing Emotional Health in Difficult Times

Life presents many changes and challenges for everyone. You have probably already managed your mental and emotional health in difficult times. The good news is that you are still here!

My favorite song from Stephen Sondheim’s Follies is “I’m Still Here.” The lyrics make me smile and bring me comfort because it is a song of resilience and hope:

Good times and bad times

 I’ve seen them all

 And my dear, I’m still here

 Plush velvet sometimes

 Sometimes just pretzels and beer

 But I’m here

 Oh, I’ve stuffed the dailies in my shoes

 Strummed ukuleles, I’ve sung the blues

 Seen all my dreams disappear

 But I’m here

Coronavirus brought new awareness to our physical health and wellbeing. As ramifications of COVID 19 persisted, it became evident that in addition to protecting our physical being, our mental and emotional health should also be a priority.

Caring for our mental wellness applies to any stressful situation we encounter.

3 Steps to Manage Your Mental and Emotional Health

The following are three suggestions for managing your mental and emotional health.

Stay Connected

I’ve been in Austin for five years. I have a wonderful group of senior/boomer friends that are clever, smart, and curious. We discovered Zoom during the lockdown as a new way of conversing and catching up on things. But old habits die hard. Now that the intrusion of Covid 19 in our lives has lessened, we still get together on Zoom to have a happy hour and share ideas or information. Staying in touch with family, friends, and people with shared interests are effective ways to feel supported and connected, vital in maintaining mental and emotional health. 

Time to Get Creative

Managing your mental and emotional health underscores the idea that when one door closes, another door opens. Life doesn’t stand still; it’s time to get creative. 

What have you always wanted to do but haven’t done yet? Maybe: tighten up your meditation practice, yoga, and work-outs; stretch more; increase the time you walk, and, therefore, increase the miles you log and decrease mental resistance. Walk to your favorite music, dance, skip and use your arms to feel the spirit move through you. 

Do you knit, crochet, sew? Get back to a hobby. Read more, study a subject that enthralls you, take internet classes, and learn to think differently by shifting your mindsets. 

Deepen your core values and practice renewal activities. That might involve developing a deeper understanding of beliefs, spirituality, attitudes, and your ever-changing identity about who you are today in any decade of your life.

Expand Your Worldview

 Challenges bring the opportunity to expand your worldview. This world includes philosophical and psychological changes and new personal growth and development ideas. 

You can:

*Start spending time with the right people in intellectual discourse. You can also reach out to a trusted mental health professional for further guidance.

*Let go of self-limiting behaviors; take some risks!

*Make life simple again; remove unnecessary stressors. 

*Find a new passion.

*Work through difficult situations with family and friends with tranquility and care.

Be Aware of Mental and Emotional Changes in Difficult times

The most formidable challenge to everyone facing a pandemic, such as a coronavirus or a national tragedy, is existential. The existential crisis tests your will, your fortitude, and your resilience. Stay present so that you can face challenges with competence and understanding of your life and where it might be going after it’s all over. One day your experiences may help someone else face a problematic situation, and you too will be able to say:

“Good times and bad times

 I’ve seen them all

 And my dear, I’m still here.”

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