How the Pandemic Saved My Mental Health

By Daniela Jimenez Roman

It was March 2020 and I had just gotten back to Puerto Rico. I thought maybe school would start in just a few weeks, but I would’ve never imagined what was to come.

As time passed by people got sicker, more anxious and everyone was stuck in their homes. With class being online and all this new free time on my hands, unfortunately my mental health started to decline.

A few months passed by and all I did was eat, study and watch TV or TikTok on my phone for hours. I didn’t feel like myself and nothing seemed to catch my attention anymore.

I started to lose interest in all the hobbies I had and started to become a person I didn’t recognize. My mental health declined, and my anxiety skyrocketed like never before. I became obsessive with little things and my physical body.

My mental and physical health got bad. I had just gotten done with classes and I didn’t want to be on my phone or computer anymore. I layed on my bed, face up trying to appreciate the silence. It was then when I asked the universe or the greater energies around me for help and decided I was going to dedicate myself to improving who I am as a person and put more effort into bettering my mental health. 

I began to do research and looked for minimal ways to improve my everyday mood. 

Some of the things I did included printing images and coloring them, going in my backyard for a few minutes to take in the fresh air, scattering sticky notes of affirmations around the house and taking time to thank the universe because although the world was in a very unfortunate moment, I was blessed to have a home and a working body and mind.

I also began to journal every day to keep track of my mental health and be able to look back at the progress I’ve made. 

Through my journal I would keep track of my emotions and rank them from low to high. By doing so, I could look up certain actions for each emotion I was feeling with  in order to improve them or make them less negatively reactive. 

While I was researching, I also began reading a lot of spiritual books that began teaching me more about the journey of peace of mind. Through those books, I was reminded that figuring out what’s best for your mental health can be hard since you have to face all your mental wounds that might  not have healed yet. 

I wanted to make sure that I was progressing the right way, so I began to see a therapist that coached me through my healing journey. Through my experiences I noticed the importance of asking for help and the connections around me. 

Becoming more aware of what I needed and how I was going to improve my mental health made me realize how blessed I was for having a good support group; whether that was friends or a family member. 

From there, I began to advocate for mental health on social media and talk about my experiences so other people could relate and not feel so alone. 

I keep my vow to always dedicate a certain amount of time to restore and regulate my nervous system to make sure I keep my mental health in check during stressful times. By doing so, I’ve felt like this habit has helped me take more control over my life when I can’t control the things around me.

Through my whole journey I’ve noticed the more I talk about my experiences and share my story, people can relate and ask me questions on how they can improve their mental health while suffering with a mental illness. At the end of the day, I hope people can consider mental health just as important as physical health because of how it can relate to other problems within our relationships, body and the environment around us. 

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