October 19, 2021 - Blog Post

Mental Health During COVID-19

We have all read about the deterioration in mental health since the start of the pandemic. There is documented increase in anxiety, eating disorders, drug overdoses, and calls to mental health hotlines. This is due to several factors, including social isolation and fears of infection.

Exercise, Mindfulness, and Social Connection are what I call my three Pillars of Optimal Health. These are the foundations of our wellbeing, both physically and mentally. For many people, the pandemic wiped out two of these pillars instantly: Exercise and Social Connection. The closing of the gyms meant people stopped their exercise routines. We became fearful of being around other people.

Here's the good news. We may not have control over the pandemic, but we have control over our reactions. Many people have used the pandemic as an opportunity to reflect on their life, the things they are grateful for, and self-growth. Many have used the time to explore Mindfulness to increase happiness. Social distancing does not mean social disconnection. We can check on our neighbours to alleviate their sense of social isolation. This simple gesture increases our own happiness level because we are happier when we perform acts of kindness. Until the gyms open, we can exercise outdoors like going for walks or runs. These simple strategies allow us to practise the Three Pillars, which in turn improve our immune system. A stronger immune system not only makes us less likely to get infections, but it also allows us to overcome any infections easier. After all, it is estimated that almost half of people with COVID-19 infection have no symptoms.

These strategies are within our control.

Dr. Mabel Hsin, M.D.

Tag(s): COVID-19 || Exercise || Mental Health || Mindfulness || Pillars of Optimal Health || Social Connection