Written by QCMHA Event Coordinator Jordan Leishman
Although we might be nearing the end of this pandemic (hopefully), a key takeaway that I have been forced to accept throughout these two years is that mental wellness does not, and cannot always look the same. Prior to the pandemic, I was overly reliant on sports, the gym, and social interaction to maintain my wellbeing. It was almost as though I didn’t even need to think about it consciously; I just did the things I enjoyed doing.
I guess I can’t blame myself for being this way; no one could have predicted the pandemic. However, it sure made things a lot harder when these things were taken away. While at home, I got by through having a home gym, but being in residence during the waves of lockdowns last year was a curveball I wasn’t prepared for. I remember sitting at home over the break, hearing the announcement and thinking, “what now?”
Looking back, the answer to that question is that it was time to get creative. Lockdowns weren’t and aren’t easy for anyone, but through them, I was able to find new ways to upkeep my mental wellbeing. Most notably, I began going on walks. Previously, the concept of going on walks was always peculiar to me. I had friends who would religiously take one walk a day and I could not comprehend why -- until I tried it. Going on walks is now something that I do almost daily; while it’s more enjoyable with warmer temperatures, getting outside really helps in my day-to-day life.
However, finding something that I enjoyed and helped maintain my mental wellbeing wasn’t exactly a linear process. At first, my strategy was actually to do nothing and wait for the lockdown to end. I found out the hard way that doing nothing was not sustainable as I quickly saw my mental health decline. I tried things like gratitude journaling and reading -- both things I did not enjoy.