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Mental Health Tips for Coping During a Pandemic and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevents individuals from seeking help. Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and wellbeing, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. While one in five people will experience a diagnosable mental health condition in their lives, five out of five people will go through a challenging time that can impact their mental health.
 
Everyone deserves to feel their feelings and acknowledge their own struggles. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in our emotions as we’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, explains that “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions”.

Here are some tips for owning your feelings:
  • Build your emotional vocabulary: Can you believe that the English language has over 3,000 words for emotions?  It’s true!  Work on building your emotional vocabulary by writing down as many “feeling” words as you can think of and think of a time you felt that way.
  • Allow yourself to feel: Sometimes there are societal pressures that encourage people to shut down their emotions, often expressed through statements like, “Big girls don’t cry,” or “Man up”.  These outdated ideas are harmful, not helpful.  You have the right to feel and to own those feelings—it’s what makes you human.
  • Don’t ignore how you’re feeling: Most of us have heard the term “bottling up your feelings” before. When we try to push feelings aside without addressing them, they build strength and make us more likely to “explode” at some point in the future. It may not always be appropriate to process your emotions at the very moment you are feeling them but try to do so as soon as you can.
  • Talk it out: Having someone in your life that you trust and can open up to about your feelings is so very important.  Whether it be a family member, friend, significant other, or co-worker, human connection is necessary along with feeling validated and supported.
 
Seeking professional help to improve your mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness. NWTC Counseling Services is available at no cost to students currently enrolled at NWTC. The counselors provide a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss issues and concerns that are affecting your mental health and well-being. Counseling is confidential and your personal information will not be shared without your consent. To make an appointment with an NWTC Counselor, please call (920) 498-5507 or email Counseling.Services@nwt.edu. You can also utilize our online appointment scheduling system at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College - Web Component (titaniumhwc.com)

 
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