2020 Thus Far…

This year has been one for the history books for sure. It started off with a bang as the United States, and Iran looked like they were on the brink of yet another war in the Middle East. Since then, the biggest news stories in the world in between celebrity break-ups RIP Cardi B and Offset’s marriage and deaths, RIP Black Panther, RBG, and Black Mamba, has been the Coronavirus. And the government’s response or lack there of at all levels. The lockdown in March and the quick reopening has had economic impacts seen all over the globe. It’s hit the United States particularly hard.

This summer, you had the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, which reignited the BLM uprising of 2020. The nation is reaching 200k COVID related deaths; a possible vaccine is still in the works and might not be here anytime soon. Millions have lost their jobs, forced to stay inside due to pre-existing conditions, and millions of children across the country are being homeschooled. Australia and the American West have been engulfed in massive wildfires thanks to the ominous threat of Climate Change. The icing on the cake is this is an election year in the U.S. The office is POTUS is up for grabs and with tons of other federal, state, and local elections on the line.

The news cycle, social media, and our everyday conversations have been about all the significant events of this year. Those events have mostly sucked! Not only do people have to worry about their physical health, but our collective mental health too. Outside of Georgia and Florida most bars and clubs are closed, restaurants are practicing social distancing, sporting events have implemented technology once only imagined in Black Mirror. You can’t see your favorite team or musical act in person, thanks to COVID. Millions are socially isolated and have had their lives completely disrupted. Collectively we have a nation and globe have gone through the five stages of grief. I think we’re at the acceptance stage now. This pandemic is not ending anytime soon. Thanks to a lack of genuine political leadership and will to help the struggling masses, the pandemic has only become more real.

More than a third of Americans reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression in July, according to an online survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics. That compares to about 11% in the first half of 2019, the center reported.

Even with all of this, we must find ways to deal with this collective era of stress, anxiety, or worse. For those who are experiencing severe mental health crises, please reach out to this website for help or seek out a professional mental health service provider asap.

For those like me, who are dealing with mild stress and irregular sleep, please recommend me a cool new Netflix show to start. For the rest us here are some tips that can help you manage your sanity in these uncertain times. Since we humans hate uncertainty unless you’re a quantum physicist. Shout out to Schrodinger’s Cat! Are you alive or not in that damn box? Pick a side; we’re at war with Rona!

Hopefully these tips can help you maintain. I’ve tried a few myself, and for those who my ask the question. “Lornett, who the hell are you to advise us on this subject?” Well, I’m a social worker by trade, so there. Now get these tips. They’re just as good as those BBQ rib tips. Sorry vegans…

  • Walk the dog (or Cat) Pets are fun, and we all love their little personalities even if they chew up your favorite pair of Stacy Adams!
  • Get outdoors (If you’re able and have to ability get outdoors. Instead, it’s a walk around the block with the family, a morning jog or run, a walk around the block or try gardening. Just get some vitamin D.
  • Stay connected (Call friends, family members, and acquaintances. Video calls are an excellent stay in touch if you have an internet connection. Or social distance outside hangout sessions. All great ways to stay in touch.)
  • Unplug (If possible, from the news, social media, and everything else. Meditate, talk to a friend, read, try to sleep or nap.)

Finally, check out these mental health resources. Folks far smarter than me put together here and here. Just know that one day in the future, COVID will be contained. Despite this pandemic ripping the band-aid off all the issues hindering this nation. People are good at adapting. The best thing you can do being cooped up with a spouse, roommate, or entire family is not be too hard on yourself. This pandemic is beyond any one person’s control. Be kind to yourself and others. And know as always, you are not alone.

Colleagues in the office practicing alternative greeting for safety and protection during COVID-19

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