Life at Your Pace Hub

~ maintain self-care and life at your own pace post-COVID ~

According to a recent poll of Active Minds’ network, most of us anticipate that the adjustment to post-COVID life will be challenging. That makes sense. Change is difficult, even when there are aspects we look forward to.

As we make decisions around socializing, cope with the new normal, and advocate for continued flexibility and empathy we may have experienced during the pandemic, it will be important to support others around us. Check out Active Minds’ recommended resources for help →

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Healthy Socializing Post-COVID

In compliance with public health guidelines, many of us have had limited in-person social interactions during COVID-19. Spending so much time alone may mean that people – not just those who typically avoid social interaction, but many who pre-pandemic might have enjoyed it – may find it difficult to adjust when it is time to resume normal activities. See here for Active Minds’ resources on different forms of anxiety, where and how to find support from friends and professionals, and additional resources for managing anxiety.

Even as vaccinations increase, it is still important to engage in safety precautions to protect yourself and others (especially people who are immunocompromised), to prevent spread or a resurgence of the virus and its variants, and to respect the needs or wishes of others who might not be quite ready to fully re-engage. The best resources for staying up-to-date regarding public health guidelines are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, your state health department, and federal and state officials. Johns Hopkins University also provides a map with updated information about COVID-19 cases, vaccines, etc.

Readiness for social interaction post-COVID varies. Remember that comfort levels are different for everyone. If you are navigating a difficult conversation with someone, use Active Minds’ V-A-R tool to validate their feelings before jumping into solutions. Visit activeminds.org/var for more information.

 


 

Coping with the New Normal

It’s clear that the world will likely never go completely back to normal; rather, we may need to find new constructs for a different, new “normal.” Feeling mixed emotions about that adjustment is normal. Are you feeling low or living with a diagnosable mental health issue? Check out these resources for when your emotions are hard to manage.

As workplaces and schools reopen and encourage people to resume in-person working and learning, many may experience a challenging transition, especially those who may need to separate from loved ones for the first time (i.e. those who will move away from family to attend school or those who may be sending their infants/toddlers to childcare). For strategies for coping, see these helpful resources from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and the CDC.

Everyone has a basic need for community and social connection. Even if you are not ready for in-person socializing just yet, there are many opportunities to stay connected while practicing social distancing. If you are a student, check out Active Minds’ Student Slack Network for instant opportunities to get to know other mental health advocates across the country. A number of other organizations list or provide virtual support groups, including To Write Love on Her Arms, Mental Health America, and the Depression and Bipolar Disorder Support Alliance.

Has the pandemic impacted your habits that would typically help you feel your best? Have you gotten out of the habit of drinking water, for example? Or are your sleeping patterns off? Check out our tools for setting daily reminders for yourself and getting your habits back on track.


 

Self-Advocating for Your Needs

For many, the transition to post-COVID life would be easier if they felt they could talk about mental health openly with their managers, employers, and/or educators and receive continued flexibility and/or accommodations to do their best work. Active Minds offers the following resources to support you with advocating for your needs: Self-Advocating for Your Needs: Navigating the “New Normal” at Work and Creating a Culture of Wellness in a Remote or Hybrid Environment.

For immediate assistance, text BRAVE to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-8255 for immediate, free, 24/7 assistance. Check out these resources for when your emotions are hard to manage.

When you or a loved one is looking for a mental health professional, the best places to look are often recommendations from friends/family and your insurance provider’s “Find a Doctor” tool. See more of our recommendations, including tips around affordability, licensing, meet-and-greets, and more here

There are also a host of digital mental health resources available. See suggestions for tools here and here.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides guidance on COVID-19 related employment issues. The agency also provides support with navigating unemployment insurance relief. Your state governor’s office likely provides additional guidance regarding unemployment compensation. Find your state governor’s office here.

Many continue to struggle with food security resulting from the impact of COVID-19. Find your local food back here and read about other public assistance programs here.

Your state governor’s office likely provides guidance on how to connect with housing counseling agencies and homeless intake centers and guidance on evictions and foreclosures. Find your state governor’s office here. The National Coalition for the Homeless and The Salvation Army provide a national listing of homeless shelters.

As circumstances and guidelines continue to change, many may find that taking a leave of absence from their education or career is the best choice for their mental health. To learn more about taking a leave of absence, please visit the Taking a Leave of Absence: A Guide for College Students and Taking a Leave of Absence: A Guide for Campus Leadership, Faculty, & Staff resources provided by our partner, the Ruderman Family Foundation.

 


 

Supporting Co-Workers - Students - Friends and Family Members

Employers all over the world are starting to attend to the mental health culture of their companies for their employees’ wellbeing, and their bottom line. See Active Minds’ tips for supporting employees and check out Active Minds’ @Work program, which offers simple and actionable tools to employees and employers to improve the culture of mental health in high-performing environments. Learn more at activeminds.org/atwork.

Although educators cannot (and should not) be expected to replace the role of mental health professionals, they can take actions as helpers, not clinicians, to support struggling students. Active Minds’ guide, “Creating a Culture of Caring,” provides practical approaches that educators can implement in “the everyday.” By doing so, they can contribute to the creation of caring, productive learning environments that help students thrive and, when needed, seek professional help.

Knowing that someone you love is struggling with their mental health can be scary and confusing. You may feel helpless, but you can make a difference by listening, being prepared, and knowing when to act. The most important thing to do is to walk beside them with compassion and empathy. See Active Minds’ tips for supporting a family member and a friend.

As we make decisions around socializing, cope with the new normal, and advocate for continued flexibility and empathy we may have experienced during the pandemic, it will be important to support others around us. Sign the Here For You Pledge to show others you care.


 

Continuing to Elevate Mental Health as a Priority in Your Community

Using Active Minds’ V-A-R tools, you can show up for yourself and others in a meaningful way that is also fun and simple. Together, we can change the culture around mental health in communities across the nation, making sure every person hears the important message: “It’s okay to not be okay,” and ensuring mental health is prioritized as highly as physical health.

Active Minds’ Stress Less Week® Toolkit is designed to provide education about stress and anxiety and build communities that are supportive of mental health. Stress Less Week spreads the message that speaking up about one’s struggles is a sign of strength and promoting self-care is a priority. Stress Less Week can be any week that makes sense in your year.

Now Available – Life at Your Pace Bracelets

A New Way to Communicate Boundaries

Active Minds’ Life at Your Pace wristbands can support you and those around you in setting personal boundaries as we navigate being in-person again.

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