Our world is currently facing a global health emergency. As the virus spreads, country leaders and health officials race to contain the situation by implementing various protocols. From limiting travel, closing down establishments including offices and schools, and enforcing social distancing, our lives were abruptly turned upside down.
We suddenly find ourselves in isolation and disengaged from society. This is enough to put anyone’s mental health into turmoil. Together with following these quarantine protocols, it is also essential that we do not forget to take care of our mental health.
The Pandemic And Our Mental Health
The pandemic disrupted many aspects of our society. The protocols put in place to protect us from COVID-19 can affect our mental health negatively. Our daily lives were disrupted. Additionally, the pandemic also gave rise to other issues, such as fearing for our family’s safety and economic concerns.
Assimilating into this new routine alongside processing the whole situation can be mentally exhausting. The uncertainty and confusion can result in anxiety.
We can also become prone to loneliness as we follow self-isolation protocols. All of these can cause increased stress and anxiety, which can manifest through sleeping problems, irritability, unhealthy eating habits, as well as substance abuse.
Managing all of these at the same time can be distressing. Although the impact of this pandemic can vary from person to person, everyone must keep our mental health in check. By keeping an eye out for our and our loved ones’ mental health, we can help ensure that we adjust to our new lives in pandemic successfully.
Caring For Your Mental Health Amidst The Pandemic
Although many of us may have already experienced stress and anxiety before the pandemic, its effect on our mental health can be stronger during this time. We can be especially vulnerable as our usual coping mechanisms – such as doing our sports and hobbies and hanging out with friends and family – may be currently inaccessible.
Given this, we enumerated ways on how you can care for yourself during these trying times.
- Establish A New Routine
The sudden disruption of our regular routines can significantly contribute to our stress and anxiety. The lack of structure can result in a disorganized life and state of mind. Establishing a new routine can help bring normalcy and structure back to your life. It can also help set a schedule for your activities, ensuring a proper balance between rest and work.
- Stay Active And Exercise
Exercising can help relieve stress. It is a natural way to release endorphins, which can improve our overall mood. Despite stay-at-home protocols, try to move around as much as you can. Explore home workouts, or take a walk or jog outside if allowed.
- Limit Exposure To News
Keeping updated with the latest news is crucial. However, constant exposure to it can aggravate negative thoughts, such as fear and anxiety. Your mind needs to take a break, as well. Decrease your news exposure, including those that you see on social media. You can give yourself a schedule of when you’ll check for updates.
Likewise, remember to get your news from reputable and trustworthy sources.
- Allot Time For Leisure And Relaxation
Being confined into our homes can give us an illusion that we are always “resting.” However, idle time can be different from leisure time or relaxation time. Explore new ways to have fun and relax, such as discovering new hobbies and exploring new movies or games. You can also try to find new ways to relax, such as through meditation.
- Connect With Loved Ones
Quarantine life does not mean total isolation. Even though mass gatherings are prohibited and going out is discouraged, we can still connect with our friends and family through technology. Getting updates from them and seeing they are in good condition can help put both your and their minds at peace.
Resilience And Moving Forward
It is understandable not to feel like our usual selves during this pandemic. The situation we are all in and how we are forced to deal with it can be overwhelming.
Dr. Konstantinos Petsanis, MD, Ph.D., validates this. According to him, “Just the fact of someone wondering if he is positive for COVID is like having a stigma and something that is threatening his life… and that affects, of course, his behavior.”
This highlights the need for us to look after and take care of ourselves actively. Keeping your mental health in a sound state will help you be more able to deal with the changes around us. Staying healthy, whether mentally or physically, will help us adjust easier, effectively do our tasks, and support our loved ones.