Amid the constant influx of bad news in recent months, taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. The social unrest emphasized by current events reminds us of our nation’s dark past. The coronavirus brings to mind the effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Our current unemployment rate is close to that of the Great Depression, with some fearing the possibility of an economic collapse. In short, we are living through a number of crises right now. How do we cope in a time like this?
Trauma specialist Teresa Mateus says, “A moment like this, a pandemic moment, is a trauma moment.” Mateus is also the co-founder of Trauma Response & Crisis Care for Movements. According to Mateus, it’s normal to feel vulnerable emotions like sadness, anger, and grief, in times like these.
Every industry has been affected by the pandemic, but nonprofit workers have been hit particularly hard. The virus affects people on a personal level, and when it comes to the organizational level, fundraisers are dealing with canceled events and uncertainties about how to communicate with donors. Add to this layoffs, restricted and reduced programs, a decline in revenue, and an increased demand for assistance, the challenges faced in the nonprofit sector are many and complex. Furthermore, many organizations had to quickly reimagine in-person events as virtual offerings.
To stay emotionally healthy during all this stress, it is important to be gentle with yourself and stay emotionally healthy. There are a number of ways to do so, such as creating pockets of calm into your day. While you may be tempted to push yourself to be productive all the time, try not to succumb to this urge. Establish a schedule, especially while working from home, to maintain a sense of structure and set healthy work boundaries.
Another way to maintain your emotional health is to connect regularly with the people that are important to you. In times like a pandemic, it’s helpful to reach out to those close to us more than usual. Take this time of isolation and increased free time as an opportunity to grow closer.