Pandemic Fatigue, Mental Health, & Mother Nature
It's 2019 and we were surrounded by friends and family and counting down the seconds as the ball dropped. 2020 was going to be one of the best years yet. So many plans for festivals, travel, photography workshops, family reunions, picnics, and sporting events.
No one could have predicted where 2020 was about to go. 2020 changed our lives drastically and we had to adapt quickly to this "new normal" way of living.
Holidays, picnics, and birthdays were canceled. Sporting events, concerts, and festivals were canceled. Working from home while managing your child's virtual school. Closed businesses and restaurants. Curbside pick-up and home delivery. No toilet paper or sanitizer. Wearing masks everywhere. Social distancing. Job loss and the loss of loved ones. Fear of being around strangers. Fear of being around family because you could get them sick.
There is a lot to unpack when we talk about the pandemic because the events from 2020 to today were completely different for each of us.
For me, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught me a lot about myself, my mental health, and what I need to do to take care of myself.
The Pandemic Broke Me
Realizing there was something wrong was harder to see/admit than I thought. I have always had a low level of anxiety but it was manageable and only popped up around big events. This was different, a lot different. This time it was crippling.
So much changed in such a short time that it was hard to identify the single event that took me out. I knew that I needed to start somewhere so I took a few steps to identify and remove some of my biggest stress points.
The 24-hour news cycle is enough to drive anyone crazy. The live ticker of positive cases and deaths was depressing. Breaking news every 30 minutes highlighting everything that was shutting down. The quick solution... I deleted every news app from my phone and stayed away from the television. Next came the doom scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. I set-up time restrictions on my iPhone to limit my daily social media consumption. The last step was completely shutting off all notifications, except for texts and phone calls. This was the quickest way to get temporary relief and unplug.
The biggest step was to get out of the house and get some fresh air - and often. Remember that "me time" is not selfish, it's essential. You cannot take care of others if you cannot take care of yourself first.
Turning to Mother Nature
Spending time outdoors can give your mental health a much-needed boost and break. Finding time to unplug, no matter what is going on in your life is always a plus.
Everyone is different and may need different levels of support.
If you or someone you know needs help please use the resources below.
Sources: Science Direct | National Institute of Health | Time.com | US News
Note: Masks are required indoors and outdoors. When indoors, masks are required anytime you're with people outside of your household, even if you're socially distant. Face masks are required in all federal buildings and on federal lands. Always check local guidelines before traveling.
Keywords: Get Outside, Hiking, keep nature wild, leave no trace, mental health, pocono mountains, wild keeper ambassador
Kevin, I admire your candor, and your take on the last year. Your sharing of your experiences alone, shows others they are in a "community" of people trying to cope and adapt to the world in its current state. I know you always, to be a bright, curios. Thoughtful, and kind man. Your generosity in regard to your feelings, and the knowledge you have gained over this pandemic is invaluable. Your research and informational tools provided will be most helpful. Especially for those feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start, or what to ask. I believe too, many people worry that admitting they are having trouble managing is weakness, instead of realizing this is virgin territory, none of us were prepared for this. You as always. Show kindness. Compassion. And support. Thankbyou for your encouragement. Outdoors, fresh air, a walk, a distraction in nature, doesn't cost money. It is a cold , sunny day, and you brightened mine. I thank you and send my love . I keep you in my prayers that your personal adapting to everything gets easier every day. Take care, Kevvy.
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