“How are you hanging in there?” seems to be a question we’re all hearing lately. Maybe we reply: ‘Actually, I’ve found the joys of baking,’ or, ‘I’ve been examining my life goals and spending time with family.’ We’re probably not saying, ‘I’ve been having a two-month long panic attack,’ even though many of us are feeling extra anxious.
One of the quirks about COVID-19 is that many of its symptoms—shortness of breath, dry throat, loss of taste, hot flashes—are similar to anxiety. Anxiety can be crippling and create real health problems. So, we encourage you to take your mental health as seriously as your physical health—especially in this monumentally difficult time.
Athletic people often underestimate the importance of mental health. Beyond the way pain is glorified in workouts, we tend to think that if we’re taking care of our bodies, then nothing else matters. It’s hard to even imagine a depressed bodybuilder. We're trying, right now, and all we can picture is a forlorn Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on a creaky swing set. He stares at his empty ice cream cone, a dollop of mint chocolate chip melting at his feet, as a single tear rolls down his slab-like cheek. But of course there’s a reason all we can picture is this ludicrous image. It’s because we—especially guys—are encouraged to ignore pain and suffer alone, even when it’s neither smart nor healthy. Even if you’re ridiculously buff, you need to take care of your mind.
We don’t have all the answers, but we do have a few thoughts on healthy coping mechanisms during this time.
Vitamin D deficiency is real and is linked to fatigue, depression and bone density issues. Antarctic researchers, in their yearly month of forever night, use vitamin D supplements.
Yoga, especially, is helpful for relieving tension and the little aches and pains that accumulate over these stressful days.
While these supplements are probably just a pill, we’re going to imagine a big comfy tanning bed that they share with the penguins. Get some sun, if you can.
Exercise is another big boost. An endorphin boost can be a great help for your daily mood, no matter what workout you do. Yoga, especially, is helpful for relieving tension and the little aches and pains that accumulate over these stressful days. Of course, for how helpful yoga is, some of us find it rather dull, so check out some online videos and do what the bendy lady does.
Let’s be honest. Right now, there’s no real reason to do anything other than binge watch series after series on Netflix until someone fixes everything.
Seeing human faces is good for you. For those of us isolating alone, this is even more important.
But, if for some reason, your eyes start to bleed and you feel a crippling sense of ennui, here are a few virtual backup options.
The viewing party. Though we’re all drowning in content, sharing a movie or show with friends or family from afar is much more fun than watching it alone. With third-party apps like Netflix Party and Twitch, multiple people can experience and chat over the same movie or show simultaneously. Combine a movie night with some virtual party group games—like the always entertaining Jackbox Party Pack—and it’s almost like you’re really hanging out with the buds.
Seeing human faces is good for you. For those of us isolating alone, this is even more important. Luckily, we’re isolating in 2020. Back in the day, you’d have to yell out the window, or at the mirror. Now, with innumerable video chat apps, you can actually see each other. Now, everyone can try to talk at once, then yell ‘what?’ at each other, just like how we used to in the bars.
At Willy, we’re providing 3 face masks to hospitals for every purchase made. Giving is important right now—but even if you don’t have the funds to donate, we encourage you to reach out to your neighbors and friends. Elderly and at-risk people can use our help picking up groceries and prescriptions.
A simple phone call to an old friend might make both of you feel better than anything.
Calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in years might make their day and rekindle your bond. Depression tends to focus our minds inwards and it can be hard or shameful to reach out for help. A simple phone call to an old friend might make both of you feel better than anything.
Nostalgia blinds us, makes us think that, say, Face/Off was actually a great movie. But years from now, you may fondly recall the days you got to spend with your family or roommates. Soon enough, we’ll all be back to the grind. You may regret not enjoying your extra time with your housemates.
If you’ve never cooked before, this is the time to light things on fire.
And, while it is cliché, this is a great time to experiment in the kitchen. If you’ve never cooked before, this is the time to light things on fire. If you’re a master, it’s time to refine that souffle and put it online so you can get those dozen likes you crave.
Social media encourages us to compare ourselves to a glamorous, productive, successful ideal that does not really exist. Even in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, we may be feeling guilt or shame that we’re not writing the great American novel or baking all that bread.
We encourage you to be kind to yourself and find the time to take care of your mental health.
These are the days where putting on pants and watching a movie online with your friends can be called a victory. No one should be faulted for feeling frozen, or like they’re in the movie Groundhog Day. We encourage you to be kind to yourself and find the time to take care of your mental health.