The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us feeling anxious and stressful. Cancelled plans and travel restrictions are what hurt our mental health the most, as we don’t have an outlet to relieve our stress. As a result, most of us have higher chances of anxiety and stress. Its important to take care of your mental health first and foremost during the pandemic (apart from your physical health).
Here are ways to take care of your mental health during the pandemic:
Limit your Media Exposure
During this pandemic, it is especially important to keep tabs on the recent news and developments in their stories. However, too much of news consumption is also not a good thing. This is because the combination of people overestimating a threat and underestimating their coping abilities (which the news can do) may result in panic. Knowing in general what is happening to the world around us is the maximum you can tune in to the news, especially if you live near an area with high concentration of cases. It’s important to limit media exposure, particularly from undocumented or potentially unreliable sources.
The World Health Organization’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also encouraged people to check the news from reliable sources only once or twice a day.
Your mental health can be taken care of with just simply breathing right. When you are panicking because of the pandemic, psychiatrists would normally refer to the 4-7-8 method, which can instill a sense of calm when you feel out of control. You would breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds then exhale for eight seconds. What matters in this technique is that the exhale is longer than the inhale, as this is going to release whatever is going on and relieve stress.
As been said before, social isolation can increase chances of one to experience depression. Over a long term, it can be linked to a shorter lifespan. Just because you are required to socially distant from other people, does not mean you need to cut contact with them. Keeping in contact with people is extraordinarily important to maintain your sanity. Luckily, technology has made this much easier to be done with apps like Whatsapp and Skype to maintain connections without putting anyone at risk or in danger of the virus.
Doing this will not only boost your mental health but theirs as well, since they’ll experience support, which research shows can reduce stress. At difficult times such as these, the silver lining to this experience is the ability to slow down and connect with the people closest to us.
Use this Experience to Reevaluate your life
Rather than worrying about how life might look in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would also recommend that you use this valuable time to what you want your lives to look like after the coronavirus. As much as people want to think that this is a punishment, this is actually a real opportunity for people to be able to reflect on themselves and their lives up to this point. The ample amount of time this gives us alone at home makes it a real opportunity to set our lives straight.
Look After your body
There is no denying that our physical health affects our mental state. During dire times when mental health is at risk, it is also an easier moment for us to fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior that end up making you feel worse. For that reason, we should take the opportunity to maintain our physical health in order to stabilize our mental health.
A few basic things you can do include eating healthy, well-balanced meals, drinking enough water and exercising regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can also go for a walk, go jogging or ride a bike. This can really help lift your mood and clear your mind – just remember to follow social distancing guidelines. Else, you could try an easy 10-minute home workout.
Do Things You Enjoy
At times like these where worry and anxiety take over, you may be less inclined to do the things you usually enjoy and love. Although it seems trivial, doing your hobbies and connection with loved ones helps to focus your attention on positive feelings.
If the things you enjoy involve meeting up with people, you can still enjoy your time by playing games that still promote social distancing like playing tennis or football. However if you are staying home and your boredom have reached a new level, there are still many things you can do such as following free tutorials and courses online, or try online pub quizzes and music concerts.
Seek Help From Mental Health Professionals
If all else does not work, then it’s time to contact mental health professionals. Many people who are in the grasps of anxiety and depression should do this. But because this is a pandemic, we recommend that you shift your method of communication with online or zoom practices online. Currently there are numerous online therapist services that you can visit in Indonesia including Bicarakan.id, Halodoc and Alodokter.
What do you think about these tips? Tell us in the comments section below!