The Covid-19 pandemic has made life more challenging, especially on our mental health. Everyone reacts differently to stressful and anxiety-inducing situations such as a pandemic. It’s normal to feel such a wide range of emotions. Most of us have been facing a lot of challenges that are stressful, overwhelming, and scary. It’s common to have feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, irritability, and even frustration.
Although feeling anxious and worried is normal, there are a lot of ways we can cope and take care of ourselves during this time. Here are 6 ways to take care of your mental health during the ongoing pandemic:
Acknowledge that your anxiety is completely normal
If the state of the world is making you anxious and uneasy, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel that way. That’s how you should be feeling. Anxiety is a normal and somewhat healthy function that alerts us to threats and danger and helps us take action and find ways to protect ourselves.
Your anxiety is going to help you make the decisions you need to be making as of now. Like avoiding spending time with big groups, washing your hands thoroughly, and not touching your mouth and your face.
Remember to take it easy on yourself for feeling anxious as well.
Take care of your body
Take deep breaths. Eat healthy food and balanced meals. Stretch a bit from time to time. Maybe take time to meditate and control your breathing. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. Limit or avoid vices.
Physical activities can do wonders for your mental health. Walking around can help you be more active and helps your body stay active. Standing up from time to time when you’re constantly lying down or sitting down can help your blood circulate and help change the pace. Exercising for a few minutes a day (if you’re motivated, you can do more!) can help boost immunity and resilience during these trying times.
Find a hobby or distraction
It’s helpful to divide problems into two categories: things you can do something about, and things you can do nothing about.
When faced with times where you can’t do anything about a problem, it helps to find a hobby that can distract you from feeling worried and stressed.
Have you wanted to learn something new for a while now? Maybe reading that book you have but never got to open, learning an instrument, or trying out a hobby? This is the best time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
Having a hobby makes you more mentally healthy and can help take your mind off the things that make you anxious, or the things that worry or frustrate you. Hobbies are the best ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and strong emotions. It makes it easier for us to find a balance in everyday life.
Find ways to connect with your peers
While staying at home for your safety can feel lonely and isolating, taking time to reach out to your friends and peers can greatly help your mental health. While social gatherings and social interactive groups may not be possible, technology has made connecting with your friends and peers easier.
Socializing decreases stress and anxiety, all while making you feel calm, and supporting happy emotions. Sharing experiences and interacting makes us feel more connected and can help reduce cortisol levels. Although long exposure to social media may amplify your anxiety, socializing with your friends can definitely help you cope with the stress brought by this pandemic.
Spend time with nature
Going outside and spending time with nature has been shown to have a lot of benefits to your mental health. Spending 10-20 minutes outside can help reduce stress levels and can help contribute to your physical and mental well-being.
Taking a stroll outside, or sitting on a balcony and having a breath of fresh air can be a change of pace from the four corners of your room. Listening to birds’ chirp, the soft breeze of the wind, the crickets singing in the night, or even the white noise of the rain can help you relax a bit, and lower your stress levels.
Reaching out to friends and family
Making time to reach out to others and connecting with others can be very important to our mental health.
Talking to a friend or family member can be a helpful way to keep stress levels under control. And helping others cope can be one of the best ways to help yourself as well. Being a source of support during these times is deeply reassuring for your friends and family, and will help you feel more fulfilled.
Be that person that others can share experiences with, it helps others feel less lonely in their homes, and it helps you feel less lonely as well! It’s at these times that we need each other more, for ourselves and others.
Of course, you don’t have to force yourself to help when you’re not mentally ready and available!
To quote one of the best lines in the series “Avatar the Last Airbender” (2005):
“Sometimes the best way to solve your own problems is to help someone else.”
All health and psychological information in this article was obtained from UNICEF, US Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Health, Center of Disease Control and Prevention, and Mental Health Europe.
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