COVID-19 doesn’t only affect people physically. The illness is also devastating to individuals’ mental and emotional health. Former first lady Michelle Obama recently revealed that she has been experiencing low-grade depression due to the pandemic, People reports.
On the second episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, Obama sat down with former NPR host Michele Norris to discuss the state of her mental health during the last five months. “There have been periods throughout this quarantine where I’ve felt too low,” she said, noting that she felt emotional highs and lows that made her feel unlike herself.
Obama explained that her feelings resulted not only from the pandemic but also racial tensions in the United States and the “hypocrisy” of the Trump administration “day in and day out.”
To cope, she said she allows herself to accept that she’s not feeling normal and to step away from activities to spend time alone in silence.
Obama credited “staying in a routine, getting a workout in and trying to get outside” with helping to keep her mental health intact. Family time spent over dinner or doing puzzles has also played a big part.
“It’s the small things. It’s the small rituals,” she said, adding that “there’s a beauty of being reminded of our self-sufficiency during this time.”
Despite the current state of the country and world, Obama said she remains optimistic. “The thing we have to remember is, we’ve been through tough times in this nation,” she said. “We are in a unique moment in history. We are living through something that no one in our lifetimes has lived through.”