MENTAL HEALTH during COVID-19 times

Even though we’re still at the start of the year, we’re currently going through an unprecedented health crisis that has turned our daily lives upside down. COVID-19 has not only influenced the health care sector, it has also had a devastating effect on the economy, education, transportation, public health, and our social lives.


The coronavirus has brought a whole lot of uncertainty along with the health concerns. Worldwide, people and countries are living day-by-day, not knowing what to expect next. We’re trying to make do with what we have, but being able to predict the future is a drive we as humans have.


At the moment, none of us can say anything about the future with any sort of certainty. All the uncertainty is leading to a lot of stress among people, including myself. I’ve been trying to grapple with the struggles that the current situation has brought.


I want to share some of the strategies I’ve come across with you.

Be kind to yourself. First and foremost, be kind to yourself. We’re in the middle of a crisis unlike any other. You might feel like you need to be just as productive as you were before the crisis, but that could only lead to more stress. When we find ourselves in a stressful situation, it can be harder to think and perform as you do when you’re not stressed. This is because your brain is working too hard to try to reduce the current uncertainty. So be patient and forgive yourself if you don’t manage to finish your whole to-do list.


Find and do the things you can control. While you may not be able to fix the current situation, there are other aspects of your life you can still control. Focus on these, on the things you do still have some control over. Try to have a daily routine (e.g. waking and sleeping at the same time every day) and keep doing the rituals (e.g. bedtime ritual) you had before the crisis hit. Having routines and rituals can give some comfort and ground you.


Talk to others. It can be so easy to feel, and get, isolated in these times. Try to check in with friends and family and talk to others to avoid isolation. It’s also important to talk to others about your needs and/or worries. Ask for help if you’re really struggling. If you don’t want to talk to friends or family members, look into options for online counseling or call your general practitioner.


Limit your exposure to news. We want to know exactly what’s happening at all times, especially during a crisis like the current one. It’s important for your mental health that you limit how much news you watch. At the beginning of the crisis, I was constantly checking the rate of infection and the death toll of the coronavirus worldwide, but that only made me more anxious and worried. Now, I try to only scan headlines. That way, I’m still up to date with the most important information without overloading myself with information.

In conclusion, while the current situation is upsetting and anxiety-inducing, there are things that we can do to lessen the amount of stress that these uncertain times are causing.


Sources:

https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-uncertainty

https://au.reachout.com/articles/how-to-deal-with-uncertainty-during-coronavirus

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/coping-with-stress.pdf?sfvrsn=9845bc3a_2


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.