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It is safe to say COVID-19's impact will have generational consequences surpassing its health and death toll. Despite the devastation of this illness, it brought the necessity of mental healthcare to light, forcing the re-evaluation of existing stigmas and biases. The pandemic's toll on mental health is real and reaching, but people are learning to cope and recover with a new focus and priority on self-care.


Sydney E.


March 10, 2023


Health and wellness


Immunity, Lifestyle, Longevity
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COVID-19's Shadow: Unveiling the Silent Pandemic's Impact on Mental Health

Immunity, Lifestyle, Longevity



Sydney E.

March 10, 2023

Sydney E.

The Pandemic’s Toll on Mental Health: Strategies for Coping and Recovery

It is safe to say COVID-19's impact will have generational consequences surpassing its health and death toll (1).

Despite the devastation of this illness, it brought the necessity of mental healthcare to light, forcing the re-evaluation of existing stigmas and biases.

The pandemic's toll on mental health is real and reaching, but people are learning to cope and recover with a new focus and priority on self-care.

Understanding the Pandemic's Toll on Mental Health

The pandemic shook the bedrock of stability, disrupting social connection, educational engagement, daily routines, and access to healthcare services; it did all this and more while fanning the flames of uncertainty with fear, financial insecurity, and unemployment.

In a relatively short period, people needed to learn how to manage emotional crises with limited access to healthcare professionals (2).

Loss and Grief

Loss is an inevitable experience, but the pandemic saw an acceleration and magnification of these experiences.

The most apparent losses are those of loved ones. As of February 2023, COVID-19 caused over 6.8 million deaths globally, and the current numbers are always changing (3).

While devastating, death is only one example of loss; others include the loss of employment, relationships, rituals, and routines.

Each loss brings up many feelings, from shock, confusion, anger, and sadness.

Stress and Anxiety

In the early stages of the pandemic, amidst mysterious symptoms and mandated quarantines, the world experienced panic and unprecedented levels of uncertainty, laying the foundation for stress, anxiety, and depression.

While the uncertainty subsides and governments revise COVID-19 actions, much of the fear and symptoms of worry remain, sometimes more acute than before (4).

Prejudice and Stigma

The pandemic's toll on mental health went beyond anxiety as fear and uncertainty turned to vitriol and misplaced anger.

The latter months of peak COVID-19 saw an increase in prejudice and stigma.

People fearing for their health and armed with few facts or information from unverified sources and existing prejudices began discriminating against people of specific ethnic and racial backgrounds (5).

Those who experience discriminatory behaviors may suffer from trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Quarantine and Isolation

It is common knowledge among healthcare professionals that social isolation is harmful, but during the pandemic, it became necessary (6).

Large-scale quarantines, curfews, and stay-home orders forced people out of interpersonal relationships.

Most human interaction occurred through computer screens or plastic sheets.

The lack of social, emotional, and physical connection has and will continue to contribute to poor mental health.

Coping and Recovering From the Pandemic's Toll on Mental Health

As pandemic restrictions disappear and the world finds a path toward a new normal, people need to come to terms with the toll on their mental health.

All the loss, anxiety, isolation, and adversity need to find an outlet.

Learning to cope with and express tragedy and trauma is the only path forward, and there are steps to that journey.

1. Seek Credible Information

Finding credible information about mental health is challenging in the era of social media and the 24/7 news cycle.

While it may seem easier to listen to friends, family, or a favorite influencer, medical professionals are the people to trust with health-related concerns.

2. Identify Struggles

It can be challenging to cope in the throes of anxiety, panic, frustration, or any emotional response.

The key to refocusing and calming down is to identify the emotional triggers of the moment and name them.

Examples of emotional triggers include (7):

  • Betrayal
  • Rejection
  • Challenged beliefs
  • Criticism
  • Unjust treatment

3. Focus on Self-Care

Discussing the pandemic's toll on mental health without addressing the loss of self is impossible.

During the worst of it, many people stopped focusing on individual needs and put all their energy into the care of others.

While admirable, mental health requires the prioritization of self-care.

For some, self-care is as simple as setting aside 30 minutes daily to read, write, or practice other hobbies.

4. Exercise and Eat Healthily

Exercise and diet are core to physical and mental well-being, especially during times of stress.

Moderate activity, like cycling, walking, swimming, or yoga, can help release endorphins — the body's feel-good hormones — and reduce cortisol levels.

Nutrition can have a surprising effect on mental health.

Eating a balanced diet improves all bodily functions, which can reduce stress.

Also, taking an Ashwagandha supplement may enhance and support cognitive function while reducing stress responses (8).

5. Talk to Someone

Trauma needs an outlet.

If it is left to fester internally, it causes further emotional strain.

After all the experiences of loss and isolation during the pandemic, talking to someone about those events is healthy.

While speaking to a mental health professional can help, finding support and a voice among friends and family members is also beneficial.

Socializing During Pandemic Recovery

The pandemic affected most people's social life, and many find settling back into "normal" relationships and activities challenging.

Reintegrating into society and re-establishing social connections are necessary aspects of mental wellness.

Still, the interactions can initially feel uncomfortable and may require extra patience and compassion.

Respect Boundaries

People will need time and space to adjust as they reconnect with the pieces of their lives pre-COVID.

Setting boundaries is healthy, and if the hard reset of the pandemic did anything positive, it was to force people to evaluate their relationships, careers, and self-respect.

Be Mindful of Word Choices

It's an elementary principle, but people often forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: Words are powerful.

A single word or phrase can trigger emotional responses and reignite past traumas.

As social, in-person interactions become commonplace, thinking about word choices and their effect should be paramount.

Progressing From the Pandemic's Toll on Mental Health

The pandemic's toll on mental health is significant and will have generational consequences.

As society progresses, people must learn to cope and recover from existing trauma with all the mental health tools available: education, self-care, exercise, nutrition, therapy, and social connection.

Check out Clinical Effects for supplements to support mental health, and remember to take it one day at a time (9).

  • https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/tackling-the-mental-health-impact-of-the-covid-19-crisis-an-integrated-whole-of-society-response-0ccafa0b/
  • https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19
  • https://www.samuelmerritt.edu/news/how-do-we-recover-covids-mental-health-toll
  • https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/cope-with-stress/index.html
  • https://covid19.who.int/
  • https://time.com/6253890/is-pandemic-over-biden-covid-19/
  • https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/ihdsc/on-the-ground/asian-american-experiences-racism-during-covid-19
  • https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-triggers


Sydney E.

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