It’s been over two years since the COVID shelter-in-place orders were mandated in California. We are still just coming out of it. Almost everyone is fed up with the current status of everything.
As mental health professionals, we have seen again and again how mental health continues to be disregarded and treated as a minor issue. This has been happening during the pandemic but also before COVID. Pre-COVID, people regarded physical issues more important than emotional/mental issues and still do. There is more awareness of mental health and its stigma, but more work needs to be done.
Living in the times of COVID, we have seen record unemployment rates and financial insecurity, which is one of the factors driving people to move back in with loved ones. It is already difficult if you get along with your loved ones, who you are moving in with, but what happens when you are highly sensitive/introverted and have to move back into an overwhelming situation? From my work with clients, it has been extremely difficult for these individuals, especially for those with unsupportive loved ones.
Tips For Living With Loved Ones
These are some tips for anyone who has to live with their loved ones during this difficult transition time. Only follow these tips if you feel safe to do so.
Can’t reiterate this enough: Set Boundaries.
Tell your loved ones what you need, e.g., "I need an hour in the room by myself."
Compromise as a last resort to get your needs met e.g., "I will pick up your item from the store after I get some time to decompress from work."
Go for a walk in nature. There has been a lot of research on how being around greenery and/or bodies of water can be beneficial for your health.
If not possible, walk around your block or go for a drive in your car.
Focus on Breathing
We recommend trying deep breathing exercises, where you can feel your diaphragm moving in and out.
If you are interested in learning more, there are many mindfulness apps and YouTube videos. Feel free to check out our blog detailing app resources by clicking here.
This helps regulate your internal system when feeling distressed.
Understanding friends and/or partner(s) can be a great source of support.
There are many online groups and forums for introverts/highly sensitive people. Feel free to Google them.
We highly recommend trying out journaling. There are studies showing it is helpful to write your thoughts/feelings out, which can help you process information in-depth.
If your mental health is continuing to suffer, please seek help from a licensed mental health professional.
We are all living through a really difficult moment in time right now. Please try to treat yourself with some compassion...we are all suffering in our own ways. When we compare our sufferings, it makes us feel worse about ourselves. Remember you are not alone and are already doing the best you can. One day, one step at a time. Don’t forget to take those breaks when needed.
If you are struggling with your living situation and want therapeutic services with us to process it, feel free to reach out to us through our site.
Stay tuned. The next topic is "Am I Introverted?"
Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.
Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.