How To Manage Mental Health During COVID-19 Pandemic
While taking care of our mental health should be a priority at all times, the current global pandemic makes it imperative to pay close attention to mental and emotional wellbeing. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus has given rise to exceptional situations – social distancing, lockdown and quarantine to name a few. These scenarios, coupled with the stress caused by the disease, has taken a toll on our mental health.
Even as countries are lifting restrictions on travelling, gatherings and public spaces, people are still under considerable duress. Feeling lonely, anxious and uncertain is natural in these times. However, there are steps we can take as individuals to alleviate the anxiety and take proper care of our mental health.
Follow a routine
The human mind finds much comfort in the certainty and assurance of routine. Although the pandemic has disrupted the usual pace and flow of our lives, it helps to follow some kind of a routine. This includes going to bed and waking up at regular times, maintaining personal hygiene and eating and exercising regularly. You will find yourself better rested and more prepared to tackle the uncertain aspects of the day.
Limit news inflow, screen time and use of social media
While it is important to keep yourself informed about the spread and control of the COVID-19 virus, it is equally important to monitor the amount of information you are processing every day. Too much news can leave you feeling more distressed than before. In this context, limiting the time you spend on your smartphones, computers and tablets also needs to be checked. Extended screen time has been linked to higher levels of anxiety and distress. Similarly, be careful about using social media as it can turn into a source of misinformation. Verify what you read on the internet against genuine sites.
Humans are social creatures who require connections with other individuals to lead a fulfilling life. The pandemic has struck at the root of this foundation, causing many to feel alone, afraid and anxious. However, we must adapt and find alternative ways, such as phone and video calls, to stay connected to family members, friends and loved ones.
Ask for help
The importance of reaching out when you feel overwhelmed cannot be overstated. While it is natural and common to feel a certain amount of alienation and stress, if these emotions persist, despite your efforts, talk to a trusted family member or friend. If your mental state worsens, contact a mental health professional or doctor. CARE Hospitals are among the best neuro hospitals in Hyderabad, with experts in mental health who can analyse your symptoms and advice on the next steps.
Pre-existing mental illnesses
If you are dealing with a pre-pandemic mental condition/disorder, the uncertainty can aggravate them. Being cognizant of this is the first step to staying prepared. Ensure that you are consulting your doctor regularly and are not neglecting medication and/or therapeutic sessions.
COVID-19 has indeed affected the mental health of the entire community, directly or indirectly. The times call for greater adaptability and work-around strategies on the individual as well as social levels.