As countries introduce and reintroduce preventive measures to restrict movement as part of efforts to reduce the number of people infected with COVID-19, more and more of us are implementing huge changes to our daily routines. The current realities of working from home, home-schooling, and remarkable lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues can be very anxiety-provoking.
COVID and mental health
COVID-19 not only affects our physical health, but it impairs our mental health as well. While to proactively protect ourselves from COVID, we have to make sure we are following proper physical distancing measures, we should also make sure we put the same amount of efforts and focus on our mental health.
How to take care of your mental health during COVID
- Daily routine: Though with most of the people staying at home, either due to remote working or the unavailability of work, the routines that we followed for all our lives have drastically changed. It is still immensely substantial to keep up with your daily routines as much as possible, be it your eating habits, getting up and sleeping on time, or exercising.
- Read: You can utilize the time that you were spending on watching news channels on writing books. Most of the libraries have now started online access to books so you don’t have to go out to fetch your favourite books.
- Journaling: Sometimes the most difficult step is to share your feelings with someone. Journaling can be one of the things that can help you calm as it helps you to write down your deepest secrets and overwhelming emotions.
- Mindful meditation or yoga: Mindful meditation or yoga gives you an opportunity to reflect on your thoughts. There are many websites and blogs dedicated especially to this.
- Stay informed: The Internet is an excellent place to get information in real-time, but it is also a place where segregating accurate information from the fake is not easy. Therefore, only follow and watch the websites and channels you trust.
- Minimize newsfeed: There are no second thoughts about following the guidelines issued and rules passed by health authorities and governments to stop the spread of the coronavirus. There are still virtual ways that can assist you to be in touch with your near and dear ones. Most of these services are free and easy to use.
- Connect socially: There are no second thoughts about following the guidelines issued and rules passed by health authorities and governments to stop the spread of the coronavirus. There are still virtual ways that can assist you to be in touch with your near and dear ones. Most of these services are free and easy to use.
- Self-care: With kids taking online courses at home, spouses, and you work from home, sanitizing and disinfecting everything, it feels like the work is never-ending. Taking time for caring for yourself seems like a thing from the past. It is, however, extremely important that you plan out a time for unwinding yourself by discussing it with your family.
- Hobby: Make time to do the things you heartily enjoy. It can be sewing, gardening, cooking, baking, painting or any other activity of your choice.
- Exercise: We are sitting for long hours, which is never considered good for health. Exercise does not merely deliver a multitude of physical benefits, but it also boosts our mental health. On one side, we can make our immune system strong, and on the other, it can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and help us sleep better. There is no shortage of mental benefits of exercise.
- Work-life balance: Since people are working from home, it sometimes feels difficult to disconnect your work life and time from your time. Carefully keep your work communication accounts different from your personal communication ones and follows your office routines at home as closely as possible. If you typically use to leave work at 5 PM, undoubtedly leave at the same time even when working from home.
- Screen time: From studies to office work, from watching the news to grocery shopping, from instantly communicating with relatives living on the other side of the world (and some times even next door) to binge-watching Netflix, our phones and computers have become the centre of the universe. I was shocked to see I was spending 10 hours on my devices for a combination of professional and personal reasons. What I found useful is to invariably add a time limit to different apps on my phone.
- Seek help: We all deal with negative emotions and distinct feelings like fear, anxiety, isolation, distress, burnout, melancholy, etc. These emotions, if not contained well, can lead to bigger mental health issues, if not addressed on time. You should talk to your trusted family member or a noble friend if you are finding it difficult to disconnect from these strong feelings. There should be no shame or guilt in seeking professional help when needed.
In pictures: How to take care of your mental health during COVID
How to take care of others’ well being during COVID
- Be kind. Providing comfort at this extraordinary time is essential for our well being and others well being as well. Check-in especially with those who are affected by the disease.
- Connect socially: Though our movements are restricted, thanks to phone and online communication networks, we can still be in regular touch with people close to us.
- Help others. If you are capable, graciously offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with grocery shopping or instructing them over the phone or from a physical distance on how to make a video call to their loved ones.
- Support frontline workers. Embrace opportunities online or through your community to sincerely thank your country’s health-care workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19. They are the true heroes of our society, and they deserve respect and support at this crucial time.
- Don’t discriminate: Fear represents an understandable reaction in situations of uncertainty. But sometimes we might express it in ways which can hurt other people’s feelings. Don’t discriminate against people because of your fears of the spread of COVID-19.
In pictures: How to take care of others’ well being during COVID
- Audio call– Regular calls, Whatsapp Calls, skype
- Video calls– Facetime, Whatsapp, Zoom, skype
- Emails– many email providers, but Gmail is the most commonly used
- Pre-recorded videos: Learn how to upload videos on YouTube without making the videos public.
- Social media: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, etc
We do not know what the future holds for us, and all this avalanche of emotions we are feeling is all-new for us. It will take us time to adjust ourselves to live in this extraordinary time. But we can together work on nurturing our mental wellbeing along with following the prescribed physical distancing measures.