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Mental Health Amid a Pandemic

By Erika Osmundson, AgCareers.com Director of Marketing & Communications

 

Prior to the pandemic, mental health was becoming a very real and discussed area of concern by businesses. Employers acknowledged there may be employees that were dealing with stress, anxiety, depression or more. Organizations were taking notice of the impact in the workplace and devising plans for programs to help.

 

And then the pandemic hit, suddenly pushing many employees out of their normal routines and facing new stressors and challenges. Mental health took on a new perspective and didn’t seem to be just for the one or two employees dealing with mental health challenges, but the larger workforce.

 

Agriculture and food employers are stepping up. In a recent survey conducted by AgCareers.com, over 50% of the employees participating said that their employers have specifically addressed mental health in the workplace during the times of the pandemic. This realization that maybe more of us are experiencing these negative impacts because of the uncertain times has made the conversations around mental health easier.

 

Addressing Mental Health

Whether you are a student or a young professional, how you show up and address your own mental health will set an example for those around you. 

 

In a recent article from Inc. they talked about “COVID Brain.” Yes, it is a real thing! While it isn’t exactly a mental health condition, it is an outcome of additional stress, sleep deprivation due to worry, anxiety, or other mental health triggers. COVID Brain is really about focus or lack thereof caused by the pandemic.

 

This article provided some practical tips that are so relevant for wherever you find yourself in this pandemic journey:

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  1. Rethink your stress.  Focus on thinking with a positive mindset. Almost like we will our body’s response to stress based on how we think about it. The author, Jessica Stillman, mentioned that time and self-compassion are key.
  2. Chill out with the right tunes.  Research shows that music can influence a person’s mood. Calm or upbeat music might be what you need to regain that focus.
  3. Mindfulness.  Seems like a “buzzword” but again research proves that things like meditation, intentional breathing, and taking breaks work.

 

People struggling with mental health are all around–at school, at work, in your community. Maybe you yourself are struggling, whether because of COVID or some other underlying challenge. Being able to speak up and communicate without stigma is a continual road. Perhaps the heightened awareness and conversation due to the pandemic is one good thing COVID can do for us!

 

Source: Neuroscientist: Covid Brain Is Real. Here’s How to Deal With It, Inc.  Authored by: Jessica Stillman; https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/neuroscientist-covid-brain-is-a-real-thing-heres-how-to-deal-with-it.html?utm_source=incthismorning