Reblog: Taking Care Of Your Mental Health In The Times Of COVID-19

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Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Hey, It’s normal to feel stressed, nervous, anxious, drained or worried right now.

COVID-19 has most likely changed every aspect of your life- your family dynamics, your eqaution with your friends, your social life, your schooling, your career, your interests, your habits and even you. As you deal with uncertainity and all the emotions that tag along, it’s crucial that along with your physical health, you take care of your mental health as well. Here are some things that I religiously follow and have worked for me. I hope they work for you as well!

You deserve patience, so be patient with yourself

  • Allow others to help you when you’re struggling. Don’t be shy to ask for help from those you trust and the ones who care about you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength, strength in acknowledging…

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At the End of All Things

We take a step, here,
at the end of all things,
over the precipice of the past.
Brittle pebbles break from the
shattered foundations of
what came before.
Dust and grit cascade over the cliff’s edge;
the foot hovers,
aware of the void beneath.

The torrential breath of change
buffets from behind,
pushing to cast us
forward in a leap of faith,
and hope for the future;
though, we are tempered by trepidation
because what could occur
other than free-fall?
How could we take what has happened, and
believe anything could come next
when our eyes see only the
abyss of the unknown.

But we take a step, here,
at the end of all things,
onto the supporting hands of
those who came before.
Risen from the void, they carry us,
as we hold their legacy within.
We find solidity, and take another step
into the beginning of
what will be.

by Erik Shinker

Casualties

Bodies stacked to line the
inside of 18-wheeled caskets.
Dead seeds line the core of
America’s big Apple;
its bloody cider overflowing due to
a lack of preparation at the highest level.

Families separated, as
isolation takes its toll despite the
empty reassurance that we are
all in this
together.

The veiled lie of post-graduation certainty
has been ripped from the brows of
college seniors.
A job in their fields was
never guaranteed,
and they learned this in the most violent way.

The things we once took for granted are
now gone,
changed forever by
a virus and the incompetence of
our “leader”.

But is change such a bad thing?
We have convinced ourselves that
things are, and
always have been, and
always will be.

But that isn’t the truth.
Change, as the saying goes, is the
only constant;
lives lived in flux and
the unforeseeable are guaranteed.

The reality of
our existence
can no longer be ignored;
we adapt, or
perish
with the lies we once held to be
self-evident.

by Erik Shinker

Wondering

Imagination can only go so far, and
promises cannot be kept when
uncertainty reigns supreme.

So I sit, and wonder;
what do you think of me?
Will it change when we can
be together?
When we are able to
touch more than the
synthetic screens of our phones.

The tempting thought of
holding your hand,
feeling skin on skin,
now made taboo by this
vicious virus.

This quarantine has isolated any
chance of certainty;
for now.
So I will continue to relish any contact,
even if it’s just a text from you, or
a digital duet and
time with your face.

by Erik Shinker

The Tales We’ll Tell

When this is all over,
like the trifling troubles of our early days;
when the quarantines are lifted and
we can once again be social without distance,
when Covid-19 has become a boogeyman of legend,
we will have to tell
those who have yet to come
what happened.

Where we focus our stories will guide the narrative.
Will it be the overused, extreme adjectives
pushed by the press?
Uncertain, unprecedented, shocking.
Will it be based on the buzzwords?
Pandemic, quarantine, market loss, layoff.

Or will we tell tales of care for one another?
Empathy empowering each other.
Of distilleries pivoting production to provide
hand sanitizer for first-responders.
Of the medical professionals who
accept the risk and put the care of
others before themselves
despite the exhausting toll of exposed hours.

Of the small sacrifices we made to
ensure the health of those around us.
Of the games we played and the
daily distractions enabling us to endure our isolation.
Of the resilience of the human spirit, and
its ability to adapt and overcome to create
a new normal.

When we describe this time to the next generation,
there will be one simple, but difficult question to answer;
not “What happened?”, but
“Did we learn anything from it?”

by Erik Shinker

If You Asked for a Poem

If you asked for a poem,
what would I write about?

My feelings for you,
the way your smile spreads to
emphasize the beauty in your eyes.
The thought of your soft lips
pressed, in passion, to mine.
The feel of wrapping you in my arms,
warmed to the point of melting.

Or my disdain for our separation,
forcing anti-contact and the inability to
be together.
But that would just be
fruitless repetition; raging at
circumstance and wishing for respite.

I would ask for your patience,
for my own,
and for us to work together to make
the best of our time apart.
Invest in speaking with
each other, learning about
one another, and
spending the currency of our mortal selves.

There will be an
even greater return when we can
stand, hand in hand,
and feel the warmth of
our shared smiles.

by Erik Shinker

Fear

A storm cloud lumbers over those
self-isolated.
Thunderheads gather in ominous clumps;
the lack of information, or
too much at once,
can cripple all the same.

Selfishness exacerbates;
hoarding in misled preservation,
shortages that people tried to avoid are
instead caused by their own actions.
Medical and health professionals, fighting on the front lines,
are left vulnerable by the very
patients they protect.

But one day this storm will break, and
we will reflect,
hoping we learned something to
improve our response when
this happens again.
If we don’t, that is something
far more worthy of fear
than any virus.

by Erik Shinker

 

For more information on how to help stop the spread, please visit the links below:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization