What’s in Your Toolbox?
By Stephanie Symonette
The significant amount of stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected
everyone, but the pandemic has had an unequally devastating effect on Black, Indigenous, and
People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ communities.
The staggering amount of statistics can be found almost anywhere, and also the reasons as to
why underserved communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
However, this article will not focus on statistics and facts, but rather on different “tools” that can
help reduce stress, anxiety and improve your mental health during difficult times. Just like a
mechanic has different tools in a toolbox, it is just as important having a variety of self-help
tools, resources, and activities in your mental health toolbox.
There is no one-size-fits-all, so adding various tools over time will allow options that are readily
available for each circumstance. The first tool is:
Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
Fear, anger, sadness, hurt, pain, frustration are all natural parts of being human. However,
keeping your feelings bottled up or lashing out at others will not make your situation better, and
may even lead to damaging consequences.
Here are two suggestions to put in your toolbox:
* Write down your emotions- This tool can be a great way to express yourself and help
process your feelings. This will also allow you time to quiet your mind and connect with
yourself, which will help reduce stress.
* Express yourself creatively- Some ideas of expression are journaling, dancing,
painting, playing an instrument, singing, styling your hair or clothes differently, listening
to music, arts and crafts. The list can go on and on, so find whatever allows you to
express your uniqueness in your own beautiful way. There is no right or wrong.
Over time as new tools are added, take time for yourself, and think about what might be
beneficial to your own mental health and well-being. They may just be tools other people can use