As we head into the cooler darker months of Fall and Winter, feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness can start to surface in a variety of ways – maybe you feel less motivated, completely numb, or could cry on a moment’s notice. These feelings are human and I think we can all agree 2020 hasn’t been an easy stroll through the park, more like an expedition up Everest circa 1925. It’s important to always continue to check in with yourself, confront your feelings and find support when needed throughout the year. We encourage you to talk about mental health with your friends, family and loved ones so that we can all stay healthy and connected.
If your anxiety has increased as a result of the pandemic, you’re certainly not alone. Plenty of Fish recently conducted a survey of its members in September and nearly one-third of singles have experienced increased levels of anxiety over the last six months, peaking in both March (the beginning of lockdown) and August (summer coming to an end). This doesn’t come as a huge surprise given the state of the world, but what did stick out was that a large majority (66%) of singles are taking the initiative to practice self-care activities regularly to reduce stress. I applaud you!
There are a number of different ways you can alleviate stress and anxiety and we found that singles are focussed on these top five:
- Listening to music
- Talking with friends/family
- Limiting screen time
So let me ask you, what do you do to reduce the stress in your life? If you’re struggling to find an exercise or technique that works for you, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Peer Navigator in the Metal Health space, Callum K. Hancock, who provided some really awesome tips on how you can cope with feelings of stress, pressure and anxiety.
- Try any or all of the 99 Coping Skills. This is a robust list of activities you can do that will help your mind refocus.
- Print out the 99 Coping Skills list and take it with you where you go. I have one list printed out and pinned to my desk at work and one on the front of my work binder at home. This way, if I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed out at any moment, I can glance over and remind myself to take the time and address the way I’m feeling.
- Make your own list of coping skills. Maybe you don’t need all 99 skills and you have a few of your top favorites that you live by. The best part about this list is it can be tailored and customized to you. Start by writing down the current skills you use to cope with stresses and overtime you’ll have curated your very own list to reference when needed.
Callum also adds, it is never wrong to reach out and find a therapist to talk to. We live in a world where there are so many negative stigmas about mental health and how you’re expected to get through it on your own. This has to change, and seeking professional help is always an option and never one to be ashamed about.
To support singles in their self-care journey, Plenty of Fish partnered with self-care app Shine, the No. 1 self-care app created by women of colour, to provide free Shine Premium memberships to 5,000 Plenty of Fish members. Read more about how you can get your own membership here and try out daily journaling, meditations, sleep stories, and calming exercises in the Shine app today.
If you have additional coping techniques you use to manage stress, pressure, and anxiety, feel free to share in the comments section below and let’s open up and chat more about mental health.
This post was written in collaboration with Callum K. Hancock, a Peer Navigator in the field of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol abuse. Callum specializes in connecting people in his community in need of mental health services with the appropriate providers. Callum is passionate about Social Justice initiatives and he is a powerful force driven by his passion to help others in their journey toward better mental health by bringing education and change for a better tomorrow. Callum’s favorite quotes are from Albus Dumbledore – “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be.” and “It is is our choices that show us what we truly are far more than our abilities.”