Skip to main content
Jefferson Health

Home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Your Mental Health Toolbox For Facing 2021

Last year taught us many things about how stress impacts our mental and physical health. Enter 2021 with the right tools to cope.

Content Warning: Information presented in this article may be triggering to some people. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges and upheavals, with the ongoing pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and the election. The toll on our collective mental health has been significant, and will likely have lasting effects. We’ve already seen how stress can manifest in the body – more people have complained about ringing ears and irregular periods. We’ve also seen how mental health is impacted in COVID “long-haulers”. Throughout the year, Jefferson experts have shared their tips and strategies to take care of our mental and physical health from coping with loneliness and cultivating gratitude, to surviving grief and developing better sleep habits. As we enter a new year, many of the same challenges will persist, and undoubtedly new ones will creep up. Read on to explore our “mental health toolbox” which is aimed to arm you with the tools to build resilience and enhance mental well-being in the face of adversity.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Tips for Brightening your Mood on Shorter, Dark Days

As darkness takes over through the fall and winter months, it may take over your mood as well—especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage. Dr. John Lauriello, who heads Jefferson’s Psychiatry & Human Behavior department, provides some tips for relieving seasonal affective disorder, from daily light therapy to walks in bright winter sunshine.

How to Cultivate Gratitude Even in Dark Times

Practicing gratitude can help us overcome negativity bias, appreciate everyday moments of beauty, and help support us and build resilience. Dr. Aleeze Moss, Associate Director of the Myrna Brind Center for Mindfulness at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health- Jefferson Health, and Dr. Rachelle Rene, Director of Primary Care Integrated Behavioral Health at Jefferson, provide tips on how to appreciate the good in our lives.

Dealing With Grief in the Age of COVID-19

Facing an inconceivable loss of human life, a mounting economic toll, and a “new normal,” we look for answers on how to cope with grief in various forms. Rachael Rosenfeld, LCSW, a behavioral health consultant at Abington – Jefferson Health, offers tips for how to cope with grief, and support someone who has lost a loved one to this pandemic.

A History of Injustice – Coping with Racial Trauma

In the wake of police violence against Black people, Dr. Shawn Blue, a staff psychologist at the Student Personal Counseling Center, shares her own experiences of dealing with the emotional impact of racial trauma, and offers tips for coping with the anger, grief, and pain.

Loneliness in Times of Isolation

We talk to Dr. Richard Smeyne, Professor of Neuroscience and Director of Jefferson’s Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease Center, about how social isolation can cause long-term changes in our brain and our lives. What are signs loneliness is affecting us, and how do we combat it?

How to Upgrade Your “Sleep Hygiene” During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The stress of the pandemic is understandably keeping people up at night. But getting good sleep is essential. In fact, sleep releases cytokines that need to increase to effectively fight infection. We talk to Dr. Dimitri Markov, a sleep specialist at the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center, about what you can do to ensure you get the zzz’s you need.

How to Recognize and Support Someone Who Feels Hopeless

Is someone you care about just down, or is it more serious? Jefferson mental health experts Matthew Wintersteen, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and Meghan O’Meara, LPC, director of Jefferson University – East Falls Counseling Services, share warning signs of suicide that shouldn’t be missed, and how to reach out with a listening ear.

How the Stress of COVID-19 Affects Men and Women Differently

In this episode of The Health Nexus Podcast, Dr. Beth Schwartz and Dr. Paul Chung, a gynecologist and urologist, respectively, discuss how the stress of a pandemic is affecting men and women and what each can do to address their physical and mental health.

Maintaining Your Mental Well-Being During a Pandemic

Tips and strategies from Dr. Deanna Nobleza, Director of the Student Personal Counseling Center and Emotional Health & Wellness Program for House Staff, on coping with stress, keeping up routines, and staying connected while in isolation.

COVID-19, Healthy You