Right Here, Right Now!
/ Author: Quentin Steen
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Right Here, Right Now!

Learning to properly manage our worries and anxieties at this moment is the key to our mental health

By Quentin Steen, Representative

At the beginning of the pandemic, not much was known about it. When it landed on our shores, we were not prepared for what was to come. We didn’t know what to expect or how long it would last.

We had numerous conflicting reports of the prospects of a vaccine. We were witness to unprecedented isolation and lockdown measures, economic impact, and the obvious physical toll.

But perhaps the biggest was the effects on our mental health.

For many, the uncertainty wreaked havoc on their mental health. It’s the primary reason I choose to write on mood-related issues (e.g., anxiety, depression, worry) and their impact on our mental health amid a pandemic.

No matter what side of the fence you land on regarding your personal opinions about the pandemic, we are all feeling its impact one way or another. It wasn’t too long ago that there was a concern over a possible second wave. That possibility turned into an inevitability.

My intent is not to be fear-mongering but to help you continue working with mental health issues that are, no doubt, amplified by the pandemic.

So, my questions are, how is your state of mental health now that we’re in this second wave? What are you doing with your worry? How are your anxiety levels?

I was in the gym recently, one of the pillars of my daily mental health practices. During a quick break to rehydrate and catch a breath, two essential elements to an intense session of resistance training, my headphones were filled with a live version of Van Halen's song “Panama.”

I’m a huge fan. At one point in the song, lead singer Sammy Hagar stopped singing to address the sold-out crow in Fresno, California. If you know the song, then you will recognize these words:

You see, the problem is I learned my lesson really quick because I was worried about tonight last night. And last night I should have been worried about last night. And the night before that night, I should have been worried about that night.

Because worrying about tomorrow is a bunch of s*** because tomorrow might never come. Tomorrow there is no guarantee about tomorrow. . . .

And yesterday is s***; yesterday that’s history, that’s dead and gone. Yesterday’s worth nothing; it’s gone, man. Cause all you got to worry about is right here, right now.

When the music bridged back into vocals, his words struck a chord with me. Sorry, that’s lame, I know.

I realize Sammy’s not necessarily a leading authority on mental health—neither am I—but I know enough to know Sammy’s right. All we really have to worry about is right here, right now. This moment, not those of the past or the ones to come, but those right here, right now.

Learning to properly manage our worries and anxieties at this moment is the key to our mental health.

This is something that I need to remind myself of regularly. So many of our worries are based on everything else other than the present.

When we allow that to happen, they rob us of our ability to stay in the moment, and to deal with what we need to deal with, if we can, to the extent we can.

Quentin Steen is a certified mental health first aid instructor for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Get your BRAIN right and your MIND will follow!

3 Mental Health Resources to Help You During the Pandemic

  1. Stronger Minds features videos and quick reads from mental health experts, activities to help you gain resilience, and ask-an-expert videos in response to questions.
  2. WellCan offers free well-being resources to help Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health, and substance abuse concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support provides free online resources, tools, apps, and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals.
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