MENTAL HEALTH: COPING IN THE PANDEMIC
There have been pandemics before, but the Covid 19 outbreak 2020 has hit the world hard leaving a trail of devastation behind, as many have struggled to cope with the negative impact it has had on their lives. It has affected different people in different ways causing people to feel anxious, uncertain, distressed and dismayed.
In a world where it has now become typical to experience ‘social distancing’, it is highly possible that people become secluded and feel alone in their struggle with the trepidation they are experiencing. The circumstances exasperate and intensify the powerful emotions they are already feeling crushed by.
It’s imperative to learn how to cope with the tension, so you and your loved ones feel equipped and able to keep your head above water. Failing to cope can manifest negatively as:
- Feelings of anxiety
- Insensitivity to things
- Changes in passion, vitality, heart and pursuits
- Problems focusing and choosing
- Problems with sleeplessness and bad dreams
- Physical responses such as migraines, body aching, stomach concerns, skin hives
- Deterioration of persistent health and mental issues
- Turning more to chain-smoking, drinking every night or using harder substances
Experiencing any of the above responses to what has been an incredibly difficult time, is totally understandable. There are however things you can do that will help you get through the challenge of living through such an uncertain time.
CARING FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
CONNECT WITH OTHERS:
Essentially we are social beings and since no man is an island, with the whole business of ‘social distancing,’ it can be very difficult to maintain relationships never mind meet new people. Subsequently, it is inevitable that people are left feeling isolated and very lonely. Although you may be unable to physically meet, try and stay in touch by phone, text, zoom, and social media. If there are people you trust, share your thoughts and feelings with them. Help and reach out to others as this could help you and them.
BALANCE AND LIMIT YOUR NEWS INTAKE:
It’s unhelpful to spend all one’s time just listening to the figures for loss of life. It can be depressing and make you feel worse than you already do. Stay informed about what’s happening, however, try not to be so glued to the TV.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF:
- Make time to exercise, eat healthily, and rest.
- Do things that make you happy, and spend time in nature as that can give you something positive to focus on.
- Don’t lean on intoxication as a coping mechanism.
- Minimise the pressure you put on yourself. If you feel you can’t cope seek help.
- If you usually suffer from a physical or mental illness then take extra care of yourself and seek even more support.
Uncertainty and hopelessness may threaten to overwhelm you, however, choose to live one day at a time, to help manage stress levels. A routine of doing normal housekeeping chores can take your mind off things. Although difficult, always choose to believe that tomorrow will indeed be a brighter day!