Where to from here? Mental health after the pandemic…

If you’re starting to think about where to go to from here after everything that’s happened in the past couple of years, then good news! That’s what I’m covering this week on Better Mental Health, both here on the blog and in my latest YouTube video. So… get comfortable and let’s talk about better mental health!

I call this one ‘The only way is up’. Note: not a binding guarantee…

Want to watch the video version of this post instead? Here it is:

This video and blog post is a little different to what I normally do; usually I focus on tips and advice for improving your mental health (and I’ll still be doing that today!) but I also want to have a chat about how we take the lessons of the last two years or so and use them to our advantage. So, let’s talk…

Thinking about where to from here…

It feels like an appropriate time to start thinking a bit more about mental health after the pandemic, and in this article I’ll be considering where we go to from here in terms of learning from everything we’ve been through.

Let me say first of all that the pandemic is not over yet; the last big pandemic (which happened about 100 years ago) took roughly three years to die out and that seems to be the rough standard for pandemics in general, so we probably have some time to go yet. And it’s not like we’re going to just wake up on one specific day and discover that it’s completely over; it’s more likely that it gradually fades and becomes just another seasonal virus (especially as vaccination rates slowly increase around the world, limiting the virus’ ability to spread as easily as it has been). 

So it might sound a bit premature to be thinking about where we go to from here since the pandemic is far from over… but there are already plenty of lessons to be learned that we can all apply to our own lives as a way of improving our mental health and wellbeing (yes, seriously!), starting with…

Accept that things are often out of your control

Because they are. All you can control is what you do and say, as well as what you choose to do with your feelings. That means that all of the external events of the world are outside of your direct control… annoying, right?! The sooner you get yourself to a place of acceptance, the easier it is to focus on what you can do to create your own sense of peace of mind. And that leads to my next point…

Accept you cannot control others

Because you cannot. Again, annoying… right?! Look, you can influence people and encourage them to do or not do things, but you have absolutely categorically zero control over what they do or say. The sooner you accept that, the easier life becomes. There’s no point getting yourself worked up because other people have different beliefs to you or they’ve responded to world events in a way that doesn’t sit right… all you can do is practice acceptance and focus on what is within your own control: you. You do that by setting and maintaining boundaries, which I talked about in Episode 53 of the podcast; I also covered it in relation to family in my Setting Healthy Boundaries with Family video on Better Mental Health. I also talked about acceptance in Episode 36 and control in Episode 48, so you might find those helpful as well. My next point is… 

Make your mental health your top priority

Because if you don’t, who will? I know it’s a cliche to say this but you cannot fill from an empty cup, and just like your phone you need to be recharged on a regular basis (plus just like a certain large phone manufacturer, your battery cannot easily be replaced…!). There are lots of simple things you can do each day to manage your mental health in a proactive way; I talked about the basics of good mental health in Episode 101 of the podcast plus I looked at five foundations of better mental health in this video on Better Mental Health. And that brings me to my next point…

Be clear on what really matters to you in life

And I don’t want to trigger everyone here, but when the pandemic first went global back in March 2020, did you stop to check if you had a sufficient amount of Gucci to wear or did you check in with the people you cared about the most? Tough times teach us about what really matters most to us in life, and we shouldn’t wait until there’s a crisis to make those things the focus of what we do or don’t do. There’s a good reason why so many of us are leaving jobs that we no longer enjoy, especially in the corporate sector, and also why so many people have left large cities… you can choose to define success in whatever way you want to (which I talked about in Episode 74 of the podcast) and, to me at least, I feel like success is having a life that feels satisfying rather than how many pairs of Balenciaga sneakers I own (sorry, no shade to Balenciaga but ***insert semi-judgemental statement about overpriced clothing being unnecessary***). And that leads to my final point…

Make the most of every day

Because we never know what tomorrow will hold, and life is lived here and now… so live here and now! I talked about being present in Episode 83 of the podcast and it’s one of the main philosophies of my work, this idea of choosing to live each moment to its fullest, because the past has passed (and cannot be changed, only learned from) and tomorrow is both unwritten and unknowable, so all we have for certain is this moment, now.

And if I may say one more thing to wrap up today…

If there’s one huge thing the last couple of years have taught me, it’s that life is far too valuable to waste it on worrying about what might or might not happen, or ruminating over things that didn’t or didn’t happen in the past. Live is lived here in the present, so live your life to the fullest and be completely present!

Whatever you choose to do is up to you; remember, better mental health begins with what YOU choose to do today!

Want more? Listen to the weekly Let’s Talk About Mental Health podcast on your favourite podcast service (click here for links to different services via Podfollow) and subscribe to my YouTube channel, Better Mental Health, for weekly how-to videos.

Thanks so much for joining me today, take care and talk to you next time!

Jeremy 😃

Jeremy Godwin (@jeremygodwinofficial on Instagram) is an Australian writer, content creator and coach who focuses on better mental health. His weekly podcast Let’s Talk About Mental Health has more than 650,000 downloads and listeners in over 150 countries, and in it Jeremy shares practical advice for improving and maintaining mental health that is grounded in quality research and personal experience. He also presents a weekly show on YouTube, Better Mental Health, which focuses on simple advice for how to manage different aspects of mental health. Jeremy’s style is direct-yet-supportive, and his own experiences with depression and anxiety (along with his formal qualifications in psychology and sociology) allow him to provide advice that is both impactful and sensitive.

#pandemicmentalhealth #covidmentalhealth #bettermentalhealth #letstalkaboutmentalhealth #improveyourmentalhealth #mentalwellbeing

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