5 Reads: Mental Health, Winter and Pandemic Depression, the Case for Universal Mask Wearing and More

We’re just two days away from an extremely contentious election here in the US, the world is in the throws of a major upswing in covid-19 cases, and almost every other crisis we’ve faced in 2020 still lurks in the shadows waiting to be addressed.

It’s enough to put ALL of us in a collective state of stress and anxiety that deserves our attention. We’ve got to focus not only on staying up to date and reacting to the news as needed, but on taking care of our own mental health, and the mental health of those in our care (both at home and at work).

This set of articles focuses primarily on doing just that. As always, please follow reputable news sources to stay informed and do your best to stay healthy (physically and mentally).

5 Articles That Had Me Thinking Over the Last Two Weeks:

Therapists Predict How This Year Will Shape Our Mental Health
Seraphina Seow. The Huffington Post

Key quote: “People will experience grief and loss in ways we haven’t had to contend with before. Ever since our sense of normalcy has been upended by COVID-19, people have experienced astounding loss and grief ― even if they may not recognize it. People are not only grieving loved ones who have died, but also the loss of jobs, special events, travel plans and routines.” Read the rest here.

Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress
Emma Seppälä, Christina Bradley, and Michael R. Goldstein. The Harvard Business Review

Key quote: “Changing the rhythm of your breath can signal relaxation, slowing your heart rate and stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the abdomen, and is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” activities (in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates many of our “fight or flight” responses).” Read the rest here.

How to make this winter not totally suck, according to psychologists
Sigal Samuel. Vox

Key quote: “Rather than fixating on our inner worlds and woes, we can strive to promote what some psychologists call “small self.” Virginia Sturm, who directs the Clinical Affective Neuroscience lab at the University of California San Francisco, defines this as “a healthy sense of proportion between your own self and the bigger picture of the world around you.” Read the rest here.

How to Connect With the Co-Workers You’re Missing
Anna Goldfarb. The New York Times

Key quote: “Right now, during Covid-19, I think is the perfect time to be transparent with our needs,” said Lupe Nambo, a licensed marriage and family therapist. We might assume our co-workers know that we’d like to talk more frequently, but if you haven’t communicated your wishes to them, she said, then they aren’t going to be able to show up in the way you need or expect.” Read the rest here.

Universal Mask Wearing Could Save Some 130,000 Lives In The U.S., Study Suggests
Jason Slotkin. NPR

Key quote: “But in a third scenario where 95% of the population dons face coverings and social restrictions are in place, the projection is for deaths to be about 381,000 — or about 130,000 fewer than under the second scenario. If that mask percentage changes to 85% of Americans with restrictions, it could still save some 96,000 lives, they say.” Read the rest here.

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