Support Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Are you feeling a mix of emotions in the time of the coronavirus?
The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease, social distancing, quarantine and isolation – all this can be overwhelming and trigger strong emotions both in adults and children.
Stress experienced during global pandemic diseases can lead to the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones as well as about your financial situation or job,
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns,
- Concentration difficulties,
- Worsening of chronic health problems,
- Worsening of mental health conditions, or
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances.
Remember that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. So, it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in relation to COVID-19. The way you respond to stress during the pandemic can depend on your background, social support from your family or friends, financial situation, health and emotional background, just to name a few factors.
7+1 ways to protect your mental health and overall well-being
Here are some simple and practical steps that could help you stay calm and positive:
Keep informed: Gather high-quality information that will help you accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting the coronavirus so that you can take reasonable precautions. Psychologists say that it is also important to manage your media and information input. They suggest that it may be useful to check the news only at specific times, or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.
Maintain your daily routine: Think about how you can adapt and create new positive routines. Try to engage in useful activities: cleaning, doing exercises, cooking, or other meaningful ones such as reading or calling a friend. You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week. Be sure to keep the right balance with offline activities in your daily routine.
Focus on things you can control: Setting goals and achieving them give a sense of control and purpose. Think about things you want or need or just simply enjoy to do, for example drawing, painting, writing or playing games. There are lots of free tutorials and online courses as well.
Take care of your body: Try to eat healthy and well-balanced meals, drink enough water, and exercise outside if it is possible. If you can, get outside once a day, or bring nature into your home. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical well-being.
Stay connected to your friends and family: If your movements are limited, keep in regular contact with people close to you by phone and via online channels. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone, and sharing with your family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope may help them too.
Take time to relax and focus on the present: Relaxation and mindfulness techniques can improve your mood and sleep quality; therefore, they can help you deal with feelings and anxiety.
Help and support others: Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
Seek help in a crisis: If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker or a psychologist.
As you can see, investing in mental health pays off in the long run. Studies have shown that future mental and physical health is related to previous efforts put into mental and physical well-being. The earlier, the better – but it is never too late!