COVID-19: Looking After your Mental Wellbeing. Fear, stress, and worry are normal responses to threats or when we are faced with uncertainty. Hence, it’s understandable if people are experiencing fear in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The fear of contracting the virus isn’t the only problem. People are experiencing anxiety because of the restrictions in movement and socialization in support of the efforts for containing and slowing down the spread of this contagious disease. Some are grieving the loss of their dear ones as well.
During the first global lockdown in 2020, the first thing I did was change my internet plan to stay connected with my family. Thanks to the affordable Spectrum internet prices, the upgrade became affordable. But having a connection isn’t enough for survival. We must learn how to cope with stress to become resilient.
If you or loved ones are experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, or depression, this mental health guide will offer you free support.
What Can Stress Do?
Stress can result in the following:
- Change appetite, interest, energy, and the will to do regular tasks
- Trigger feelings of worry, sadness, anger, fear, and numbness
- Disrupt sleeping patterns
- Difficulty with concentration and making decisions
- Cause body pain, skin rashes, stomach issues, and headache
- Worsen the mental health
- Increase the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Below are proven ways to manage stress during these trying times:
Take a break
Limit the time spent on TV, computer, social media. While it is good to stay informed but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Go easy on yourself and take a break.
Take good care of your body
- Eat healthy and well-balanced meals
- Get enough sleep
- Pick one easy exercise you can continue regularly
- Get vaccinated whenever the vaccines are available in your region
- Connect with your loved ones
- Talk to a friend or a family member you trust about your concerns. Tell them how you are feeling. Don’t contain your thoughts to yourself. Merely expressing yourself can release half of the stress.
Keep up with the news to some extent
If you find it helpful, stay connected with the current events. However, take care where that source of information is coming from.
If new stories are making you confused or anxious, switch off for a while. Only listen to the news at a certain time of the day. Do something creative or relaxing afterward.
Social media is great for keeping in touch with people but it can make you feel anxious too. Don’t spend too much reading other people’s posts or the stories in your news feed.
Get as much natural light as possible
Staying indoors can trigger depression and anxiety as well. Try getting out in the natural light by going out for a stroll. Even simple acts like sitting by the window, looking at the sky, staring at the trees, and bird watching can boost your mood.
Spend more time in the room that gets the most light. When it gets dark, keep your living space well lit.
When feeling trapped or claustrophobic
Whether you have got COVID-19 or not, staying at home can make you feel trapped. In that case, follow these measures:
- Open the windows for breathing fresh air
- Spend time sitting on your doorsteps. If you have a garden or a balcony, go out and get close to nature
- Change the room in which you spend time. If you live in a small space, use different sections of the same room and give yourself a sense of variety
- Sit near the window and look at the sky whenever the feelings of claustrophobia kick in
When feeling depressed
The situation of the world right now is depressing. To combat depression, try these measures:
- Practice mindfulness
When you are feeling low, connecting with others and even doing things you love seem difficult. Practicing mindfulness can help manage depression.
- Set small goals
Mood swings can take a toll on your self-esteem. You may feel as if you are failing at everything. Start with small goals such as getting dressed even if you are working from home, cooking a meal, and journaling. These activities will boost your self-confidence.
Call for Help When Necessary
During times of extreme stress, call for help. Reach out to a friend in crisis. Get in touch with a trained counselor or a therapist in your area.
When in crisis, call 911 for immediate help.