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Sharpe-Jefferson: Post-Pandemic Check-Up

By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

We certainly have been through a great deal with this pandemic.

And although we are well acquainted with the (human) physical and financial toll, there is another area that bears watching, especially for our community.

Mentally, how are you really holding up these days? It can be easily overlooked or downplayed, but this is as important a piece as any in our overall wellness.

We can cave under images of the strong black woman and invincible black male… while mentally, we’re on official meltdown status.

So let’s do a quick check-up.

When you are stressed, anxious, depressed or worried, do you turn to any of the following behaviors to relieve mental frustration? Or, do you notice these in others?

Habits such as:

  • Turning to more comfort and junk foods for pleasurable feelings.
  • Sleeping more than usual and experiencing more lethargy.
  • Consuming more alcohol or other “spirits.”
  • Feeling more tired, weak or sickly or visiting doctors more for “unexplained” symptoms.
  • Being more argumentative and disagreeable in casual conversations.

If so, these could be major hints of overall mental stress or fatigue.

And there’s absolutely no need to be embarrassed about this. Many of us have been there – even if unknowingly.

Instead, get a plan of action to get back into the swing of life (on a much calmer note, of course).

Here are a few ways to practice overall good mental health during the pandemic and beyond.

  • Schedule a wellness checkup. Get a thorough report on your vitamin and mineral levels in order to shore up any deficiencies which could lead to mental and physical challenges. Do this ASAP.
  • Up your wellness routine in general. Start today by eating healthy snacks and meals and taking your supplements consistently.
  • Exercise, get a good night’s rest and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. And add any other practices that contribute positively to your overall health.
  • Take a good assessment of where you are mentally. Are you frazzled by life right now and feeling strongly like you need help navigating challenges? Start the conversation with a trusted and compassionate member of your family and/or friend support system. Be open to their companionship, counsel and recommendations.
  • And finally, hire a therapist or life coach. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Sometimes we need others to help us see clearly when all of life appears cloudy. Ask for help and get the fresh start you need.

Keep in mind, therapists and life coaches have different roles in getting you the help you need. But the overall goal is the same.

As a life coach, I am not a doctor nor a therapist nor do I have a medical background. Nor can I offer medical advice. I have people whom I can refer you to.

But I am qualified to help you get clarity about where you are now. I am qualified to help you identify your hindrances and get moving again. I am qualified to be a safe space to help you identify your next step. That clarity and forward movement may be the very thing you need to move past frustration, fear and mental cloudiness.

And another note, as a life coach I like to remind people that it’s not my job to tell you what to do. I simply assist you in taking your next courageous move, even if it’s in the mental health arena.

As always, I’m cheering for you. And I’d love to work with you as your life coach. My contact is below.

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears on the first and third Thursdays of each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisa@keisasharpe.com.