Maintaining Mental Health During COVID-19

Summer is officially here, but with quarantine still in place, it seems like those block parties and large Fourth of July celebrations might look a little different this year, some of which may even be cancelled. Being stuck inside has taken a toll on many Americans, not only on physical health but also mental health. Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough, a facial and nasal plastic surgeon and founder of McCollough Plastic Surgery Clinic & Skin Center and Total Health Spa, understands the importance of maintaining all-around health and continuing to live your best life despite difficulties.

Author of The Gift You Give Yourself, Dr. McCollough utilizes his professional experience to reflect upon and contribute to the ongoing conversation of health during this crisis:

“In my book, I affirm a long-accepted truism: ‘Human beings are herding animals.’ For health and well-being, the human-animal requires interaction with other of their species.

“The quarantine associated with the 2020 COVID-19 virus created challenges of the like that most Americans had never envisioned. Individuals were ordered to shelter in place, i.e. remain in their homes or risk fines imposed by local and state governments. Businesses were ordered to close their doors. Workers were furloughed, with no promise of when they might be able to return to work.

“And all this came about without due warning. As all animals are prone to do during threatening circumstances, citizens went into a survival mode. Rational thought was replaced with panic-like behavior. Throughout the land, people rushed to stores to obtain paper goods, foods, and supplies.  Upon arriving at shopping centers, many citizens found the shelves bare.

“People were told not to touch other human beings. Handshakes and hugs were forbidden. Masks that covered the faces of fellow human beings were required in some places and strongly encouraged in others. Group gatherings (greater than ten) were forbidden. Group entertainment and sporting events were no longer available. Even attending traditional places of worship was forbidden.

“In short when people needed hope and assurances the most, these basic human needs were prohibited. Freedoms and hopes associated with the typical American lifestyle were replaced with uncertainty and—often conflicting—daily reports of doom and gloom.

“According to a USA Today report, ‘the now-familiar stresses of quarantine – money worries, boredom, lack of escape from each other, conflicts over the kids, conflicts over chores, lack of exercise – are forcing many couples to reconsider how they really feel about their partners, seek lawyers and counselors.’1

“FOX News reported that so-called ‘deaths of despair’ (alcoholism, drug overdoses, and suicide) could reach 150,000 in the U.S. if more isn’t done to provide access to mental health care, increase emotional well-being, mitigate social isolation and blunt the impact of an economic downturn that has wiped away at least 40 million jobs.2

“So, if during your time of forced confinement (‘sheltering at home’) you did not take care of your appearance and health as well as you should have, what can you—as a herding animal—do? In addition to long-awaited interactions and excursions with family, friends, and associates you can refocus on enhancing your body, mind and spirit. In The Gift You Give Yourself, I explain how you can utilize the talents that you were given to put your best self forward and exhibit pride in everything you do:

  1. Exhibit good posture
  2. Work on getting your weight under control.
  3. Embrace only healthy eating habits.
  4. Schedule a time every day to engage in physical activity that tones and strengthens muscles and cardiovascular and pulmonary health every day, for at least 15-20 minutes. (You don’t need expensive exercise equipment. You can use isometric exercises and calisthenics in small areas inside your home or walk the stairs, if they are available.)
  5. Set aside sometime every day for relaxation and meditation.
  6. Whiten your teeth.
  7. Assess your wardrobe. Coordinate or alter the clothes you already have and make a list of accessories you need to appear better dressed.
  8. Engage in personal and career-oriented activities that enhance your mind and spirit as well as your body.

“When you do these things, not only will your external appearance be enhanced, you will feel better about yourself. More people will want to be associated with you. As a result, your self-confidence will be bolstered and you are likely to be given more opportunities at work.

“So as America re-opens following the COVID-19 Pandemic, you have an opportunity to return to the scene looking better than ever, feeling better than ever, and being more productive than ever.”

 

For more information about Dr. McCollough and his book, please visit https://mccolloughplasticsurgery.com/.

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