By Jeremy Godwin.
Hello and welcome to another issue of Mental Health Talk. No prizes for guessing the topic of conversation this week… yep, novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Since last week’s issue we have seen many countries go into lockdown and many millions of people either underemployed or completely unemployed overnight, and it is no understatement to say that we will be feeling the medical, economic and cultural ramifications of this pandemic for many years to come. For now though, our focus needs to be on taking things one day at a time as we pull together to get through this crisis.
With that in mind, this week I’m sharing practical articles about advice for dealing with different social, cultural and mental health consequences of COVID-19 such as tips from therapists for dealing with anxiety, navigating the challenges of working from home with your partner, and safe exercise options (plus some bonus good news stories from around the web). So, let’s talk!
This week’s EpisodeS of Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
This week has seen two episodes of Let’s Talk About Mental Health released: the regular weekly episode, Let’s Talk About… Panic (which looks at how heightened states of panic and fear can affect our mental health, why it happens both individually and collectively, and more importantly how to handle it for the sake of your mental health and wellbeing) along with a bonus mini-episode, Dealing with Financial Stress (which provides quick tips to deal with sudden financial distress and work through the mental health impacts). Click on the episode titles above to read the posts, or listen on Spotify using the embedded players below.
If you find the podcast useful, please share it with anyone you know who may find it useful and engaging. Also, if you could take a moment to click on the ‘follow’ button (like the one in the player above) that would be much appreciated, because the more followers my podcast gets the easier it is to help other new listeners find it (search engines only seem to be interested in stuff that other people are interested in!). Thanks 🙂
Articles of the Week…
11 Tips From Therapists on Coping With Anxiety During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (Allure, 23 March 2020): Excellent how-to advice from therapists. Read it here.
Manage Anxiety & Stress (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 March 2020): Practical advice for individuals, parents and responders as well as those who have been released from quarantine. Read it here.
A Brain Hack to Break the Coronavirus Anxiety Cycle (New York Times, 20 March 2020): Last week on social media I shared that I had an anxiety attack in the supermarket after becoming completely overwhelmed by the empty shelves and the general air of catastrophe. I found this article when I got home (after calming down a bit through mindfulness and breathing exercise) and I found it incredibly useful. Read it here.
11 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack (Healthline, 2020): I came across this while researching the Panic episode, and it may prove useful for anyone who experiences panic attacks. Read it here.
Coronavirus: Social distancing and isolation can take a toll on your mental health, here’s how some people are coping (ABC News Australia, 23 March 2020): Advice for looking after your mental health in isolation along with stories from individuals about how they’re making it through these challenging times. Read it here.
Coronavirus anxiety and self-isolation leading to higher use of alcohol, cannabis, experts say (ABC News Australia, 26 March 2020): Sorry to be a wet blanket but getting drunk to pass the time or deal with the heightened anxiety at the moment is not the answer. This article includes some advice for managing consumption as well as a link to an article about the long-term health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. Read it here.
Coronavirus is forcing couples to work from home, together. This is how to navigate the challenges (ABC News Australia, March 26 2020): There are lots of practical challenges associated with suddenly working in the same space as another person; my partner is a high school teacher and starts working from home next week as the school has moved to online lessons following a major drop in attendance rates (schools have not yet been shut in our state, but parents have been ‘encouraged’ to keep their kids home), so we’re about to work through this ourselves. Read it here.
How to stay married through coronavirus (ABC News Australia, 22 March 2020): I distinctly remember the very first time my partner and I went away overseas on holidays; after nearly four weeks together 24/7, it very nearly ended things. Thankfully, since then we’ve learned how to adapt to being around each other non-stop (especially useful during school holidays since I work from home). This article has some great advice on how to make it through confinement with your relationship intact. Read it here.
Coronavirus has closed the gyms, but are running, walking and cycling still safe exercise options? (ABC News Australia, 24 March 2020): Physical activity can have a positive effect on your mental health, but if you’re used to going to the gym to get your fix then what are your safe options? This article provides simple ideas for staying active at home. Read it here.
Socially distant bear hunts popping up all around the world to distract children from coronavirus (ABC News Australia, 25 March 2020): Because we need more good news stories like this to remind us that there is kindness, generosity, compassion and joy in this world. Read it here.
TED Talk of the Week…
The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong (Amy Morin, TEDxOcala, 2015): Hopefully I don’t need to explain why I chose this one to share this week. Let’s use this time to make positive changes in our lives. Warning: this is quite emotional. Running time: 15 minutes. Watch it here or in the player below.
Favourite Instagram Post of the Week…
Quote of the Week…
Here’s a quote I absolutely love this week – take a few moments to consider what it means to you in the context of your mental health and wellbeing:
“You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.“Unknown
Next Week on Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
Next week’s podcast topic will be Let’s Talk About… Uncertainty. I will be continuing to explore topics related to dealing with the mental health impacts of the coronavirus over the coming weeks as we deal with this crisis. In the next episode I’ll be talking about how to manage your mental health during times of uncertainty, whether big or small.
Podcast and transcript/article available Monday morning (Australian time; Sunday evening in the UK & Ireland and Sunday afternoon in the US & Canada) – find the next episode and all past episodes here (where you can also subscribe to have it land in your inbox each week). Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and others (see my Podcast page for links) as well as an audio-only version on YouTube. And if you like the program, please leave a five-star review on your preferred platform and share it with your friends/family/etc!
Random cat photo/Meme of the week…
AND FINALLY: SOME GOOD NEWS STORIES FROM AROUND THE INTERWEBS…
These are some of the loveliest examples of humanity and kindness that I’ve come across this week…
Until Next Time…
Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and you haven’t already subscribed to Let’s Talk About Mental Health, please do so at the Subscribe page on the website.
If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see/hear/read more of on Let’s Talk About Mental Health or in this Mental Health Talk newsletter, you can get in touch with me via social media using the links below.
Have a brilliant week, take care of yourself and remember: be kind to others because you never know what their struggles are, and what you put out into the world comes back to you (and I promise you that’s not meant to be a coronavirus pun)!
BONUS: CORONAVIRUS MemeS of the week…
If there was ever a time where laughter was necessary, it’s now! With that in mind, here are a few memes that made me laugh this week (not making light of the pandemic, but we all need a laugh every now and then)…
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© 2020 Jeremy Godwin