The daily reports of new cases and surging hospitalization rates give a precis of the global state of the health crisis, but little is said of the individual state of each of us that face each day battling the effects of the scourge.
The new reality of the pandemic plunged many into a situation that may take years to recover from. Job losses, pay cuts, and furloughs seeped through the corporate world, thrusting many into unprecedented financial crisis, amid the pandemic-induced global recession. But the economic implications of the pandemic are just one part of them; people now have to cope with a new normal where they can’t visit loved ones and can’t work on-site with their colleagues, as measures to rein in the outbreak. Add to this, the grief many are experience over the loss of friends and family to the pandemic.
Admittedly, there are several factors out there that threaten our mental health. In fact, the pandemic stress has pushed some people over the edge, heightening the burden of mental health problems, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. But we can safeguard our mental health during these unparalleled times. Take control of your mind and spirit by applying the following tips:
1.Maintain a Routine
You might have lost your job or are working from home due to your local restrictions, but whichever situation you’re in, maintain a structure. Have a plan for your day – create time for recreational activities as well as chitchats that have nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak. Being at home nearly the whole day might be tempting to constantly feed on news and information about the outbreak – avoid it.
When it is time to check out coronavirus-related news, ensure to check from reliable sources, such as the CDC or FDA official websites.
If you work from home, also, have clear boundaries. Avoid working into the night or cramping up more work tasks than you can handle. This will only burn you out. Have clearly-defined work hours that allow you to engage in personal activities without feeling guilty.
2. Maintain your Physical Health
Don’t neglect your health while you constantly keep tabs on news and updates about the outbreak. The stay-at-home orders make it easy for you to stay sedentary; this will turn around to affect your mental health negatively. Stay active, get a lot of exercises, and good quality sleep. Binging on your favorite TV series for hours on end may harm not only your mental health as it leaves you mentally fatigued, but the physical inactivity also puts you at risk of chronic illnesses.
Further, eat healthily. You may crave sweetened beverages and sugary foods to kill the boredom and spark some excitement in your taste buds, but these foods will stress you – literally. These meals may affect your mood and energy levels and may worsen a current mental health condition.
Instead, take healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fiber, and fatty fish, to boost your mood and protect your mental health.
Create your Community
Social distancing does not mean you should live in isolation. Create a virtual support group and check in with them regularly. While connecting in person may be difficult at this time, connecting face-to-face via online platforms is essential for your mental health.
If you work from home, ensure you create time to check on your colleagues. Use your tea breaks to have a virtual fun time with your co-workers.
If you have children, spend time with them and help them understand what is going on in an age-appropriate manner without feeling any feelings of anxiety and uncertainty in them.
If you are dealing with a mental health situation, such as depression or anxiety, now is the time to connect with your support group and get healing and strength from the community.