Looking after your mental health is as important as your physical health.
Fears about Covid-19 can take an emotional toll, especially if you’re already living with an anxiety disorder. But you’re not powerless or alone. We are all in this together.
Managing your anxiety.
It’s a frightening time. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shutting down. Some of us are in areas that have already been affected by coronavirus. Others are bracing for what may come. And all of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next?”
For many people, the uncertainty surrounding Covi-19 is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be impacted or how bad things might get. And that makes it all too easy to catastrophize and spiral out into overwhelming dread and panic. But there are many things you can do, even in the face of this unique crisis, to manage your anxiety and fears.
It’s vital to stay informed, particularly about what’s happening in your community, so you can follow advised safety precautions and do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. But there’s a lot of misinformation going around, as well as sensationalistic coverage that only feeds into fear. It’s important to be discerning about what you read and watch.
Millions of jobs have been lost, children aren’t in school and people are self-isolating. Not to mention you have to be careful not to contract the virus. The United Nations Secretary-General has called on the international community to do more to protect those facing mental pressures. Looking after your mental health is as important as your physical health - there are people amongst us who are anxious, worried, and stressed due to COVID-19. If not dealt with, it will be detrimental to your well-being.
Emotions are contagious as Covid-19.
All of us need reassurance, advice, or a sympathetic ear during this difficult time. But be careful who you choose as a sounding board. The coronavirus is not the only thing that’s contagious. So are emotions! Avoid talking about the virus with people who tend to be negative or who reinforce and ramp up your fears. Turn to the people in your life who are thoughtful, level-headed, and good listeners. If you don’t have someone you trust to turn to, there are some apps that are a good resource for free, emotional support.
These tips can help you get through this stressful time.
Take care of your body and spirit.
This is an extraordinarily trying time, and all the tried-and-true stress management strategies apply, such as eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep, and meditating. Beyond that, here are some tips for practicing self-care in the face of the unique disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself if you’re experiencing more depression or anxiety than usual. You’re not alone in your struggles.
Maintain a routine as best as you can. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
Take time out for the activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something, whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it takes you out of your worries.
Get out in nature, if possible. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood can make you feel better. Just be sure to avoid crowds, keep your distance from people you encounter, and obey restrictions in your area.
Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. While the gym and group classes are out, you can still cycle, hike, or walk. Or if you’re stuck at home, look online for exercise videos you can follow. There are many things you can do even without equipment, such as yoga and exercises that use your own bodyweight.
Avoid self-medicating. Be careful that you’re not using alcohol or other substances to deal with anxiety or depression. If you tend to overdo it in the best of times, it may be a good idea to avoid it for now.
Take up a relaxation practice. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium. The regular practice delivers the greatest benefits, so see if you can set aside even a little time every day.
While it is important to stay informed with the latest news and updates, you need to limit your exposure to it. You can’t control the news but you can manage the intake. This is especially essential for children. Their young minds ought to be provided with age-appropriate information. Find time to disconnect from it all and engage in other activities like games, tackle a project, or discover hidden talents you have. This is also the ideal time to take time and reflect on the plans you have for your career, complete your profile to enable I-WATCH -mkomah.com help you in finding the best free online courses that will equip you with leadership and soft skill as we prepare for life after Covid-19. Improve skills by clicking these links: https://bit.ly/2JEYpR9 and https://bit.ly/33Nxt8K
Plan for what you can.
It’s natural to be concerned about what may happen if your workplace closes, your children have to stay home from school, you or someone you love gets sick, or you have to self-quarantine. While these possibilities can be scary to think about, being proactive can help relieve at least some of the anxiety.Write down specific worries you have about how coronavirus may disrupt your life. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break.
-Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on “perfect” options. Include whatever comes to mind that could help you get by.
-Focus on concrete things you can problem-solve or change, rather than circumstances beyond your control.
-After you’ve evaluated your options, draw up a plan of action. When you’re done, set it aside and resist the urge to go back to it until you need it or your circumstances significantly change.
We are interactive beings. However, we can no longer meet and hang out at social events. Social distancing is one of the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. However, being in isolation has been known to lead to depression. Just because you feel lonely doesn’t mean you are alone. You can connect virtually to friends or family via calls, texts, or video calls. It may not be the same but it is better.
It’s no coincidence that those who focus on others in need and support their communities, especially during times of crisis, tend to be happier and healthier than those who act selfishly. Helping others not only makes a difference to your community, and even to the wider world at this time, it can also support your own mental health and well-being. Much of the anguish accompanying this pandemic stems from feeling powerless. Doing kind and helpful acts for others can help you regain a sense of control over your life, as well as adding meaning and purpose.
Not getting enough sleep increases stress levels. Avoid indulging in alcohol and drugs or caffeine as stimulants before bed as it will not help. It is important to stay focused on work and on managing stress by eating healthy meals and drinks. If you still find it hard to sleep then make a pre-bedtime routine, it can be taking a long bath or physical exercise. You need to plan or have a schedule of the day. The World Health Organization has also provided a guide called doing what matters in times of stress with practical skills on stress management.
Focus on the things you can control.
When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. For example, you can’t control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risk and the risk you’ll unknowingly spread it to others, such as:Washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
-Avoiding touching your face particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-Staying home as much as possible, even if you don’t feel sick.
-Avoiding crowds and gatherings of 10 or more people.
-Avoiding all non-essential shopping and travel.
-Keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when out.
-Getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.
-Following all recommendations from health authorities.
While it’s often difficult to imagine anything good coming out of traumatic experiences, building resilience can help you find any positives in the difficulties you’ve faced. Surviving hardships can teach you important things about yourself and the world around you, strengthen your resolve, deepen your empathy, and in time enable you to evolve and grow as a human being.
Building resilience can also help you to:Stay focused, flexible, and productive, in both good and bad times.
-Feel less afraid of new experiences or an uncertain future.
-Manage and tolerate strong emotions outside your comfort zone, even those you’d rather avoid like anger or despair.
-Strengthen your relationships and improve your communication skills, especially under pressure.
-Bolster your self-esteem.
-Be confident you’ll eventually find a solution to a problem, even when one isn’t immediately apparent.
You can develop and improve these qualities of resilience at any time, regardless of your age, background, or circumstances.
Whether you’re facing a global or personal crisis or a mix of both, building resilience can help you cope with stress, overcome adversity, and enjoy the better days to come.