Guest post by Ralph Macey
We are going through an uncertain time due to COVID – 19 pandemic. We didn’t expect that the coronavirus outbreak could cause that amount of destruction all over the world. Gradually we are adjusting our lives with the effect of this pandemic and searching for ways to fight against it. There are multiple things that may create issues in our daily life during this time. Our health, job security, financial issues, food stocks and supplies, medicine, and most importantly isolation can make our lives miserable.
Due to this crisis, you might experience a surge of emotional feelings such as fear, irritation, confusion, anger, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and disappointment. Coping with such emotions is very difficult when we are also experiencing the wrath of a coronavirus outbreak. Remember, severe grief can have a negative impact on your marriage and can effect your relationship with your spouse. This is not good for your mental wellbeing. On the other hand, chronic anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, which is again a lifelong problem.
Our mental health is as important as our physical health. So, we should look after our physical and mental wellbeing during this pandemic.
To fight this situation, here are a few ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing.
10 Tips For Your Wellbeing During COVID – 19 outbreak
1) Do proper research
Being a responsible citizen and a responsible human being, you should do enough research to get information about the outbreak. It’s important to remember that there is a lot of false information circulating about COVID-19 on the world wide web. You should be cautious and responsible about the information you are gathering and sharing on social media.
Proper knowledge of the COVID-19 facts will help you to stay safe and healthy. This way you may reduce your anxiety and get some positive vibes.
2) Focus on what you can control and manage
You can’t control the effect of the virus that is happening outside of your home. It might be difficult for you to control your emotions and thoughts if you know the situation and upsetting effect of the outbreak. But you may control your response to a critical situation.
First, you need to try and calm yourself. Take a shower, spend time with your pet, read some books that may give you positivity, play with your kids, take care of your garden, clean up your room, etc. By doing such little things at home, you may control emotional pressure upon your health and mind.
3) Talk about your worries
It’s quite normal for us to get worried, anxious, or feel helpless about the coronavirus outbreak. So, it is normal if you share your thoughts with others you trust. Sharing your concerns may help others too. If you feel shy about sharing your feelings with someone, there are multiple helplines you can try.
Having a moderate level of anxiety may indicate that you are cautious about the surrounding situations and need to engage in behaviors to improve your mental and physical health.
So, you can freely accept these feelings, they are quite normal. Do not suppress your emotional feelings at all, unless you want to trigger some serious mental health issues. And, it’s not only about the worries that you should discuss with others. Talk about the things that you’re looking forward to after the lockdown is over. Discuss your plans with your friends and family.
4) Maintain PHYSICAL distancing only
People are talking about maintaining social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But do you literally need to follow it word by word? Think again.
It is essential to maintain physical distancing with other people. Social distancing is not considered as cutting off relations with others. You need to maintain your social contacts but keep your distance from other people physically.
Humans are social animals. They can’t live in isolation. During this lockdown situation due to the pandemic, it’s important for you to maintain contact with your friends, family, and other dear ones for your mental health. You may call them, make video calls via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other free video chat apps. It is the most convenient and fastest way to see your loved ones face-to-face.
5) Look after yourself
This is the time when you should look after yourself and your family members’ health, more than anything. By looking after yourself and your family, you may increase your physical and mental wellbeing.
You should engage in positive activities such as regular exercising, having good sleep, eating fresh and nutritious food, doing meditation or yoga, maintaining personal hygiene, etc. You should focus on boosting your immunity to fight coronavirus.
By following these activities, you can protect yourself and your family, both physically and psychologically from the effects of coronavirus.
6) Identify your triggers and signs
You need to identify signs of mental health issues. If you notice a few symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, insomnia, lack of appetite, headaches, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or sudden anger to hurt someone, that means you are suffering from mental health problems.
You must try to identify triggers. For example – if you are getting depressed after knowing the total deaths caused by a coronavirus outbreak, or after seeing stressful videos, images, from social media, you need to try and keep away from these triggers.
As a preventive measure, you should try and think positive, do your regular work with energy, stay happy with people near you, and always try to help others to fight mental health issues. Giving others the help they need can make you feel happier too. You may ask your neighbours to join in a video chat, as they may need more social connections, especially older people or a neighbour who lives alone.
Try to look at the positive side of the lockdown too. Take a piece of paper and note down the things you’re grateful for during the lockdown. Try to think from a different perspective. For instance, the lockdown has given you an opportunity to watch lots of movies, read interesting books, have better relationships with your family, and rekindle your creative spark once again.
7) Set up goals for the family
During this crisis, you may be able to easily handle critical mental situations. But that doesn’t mean your family members can also handle the immense psychological pressure created due to the pandemic.
It is high-time when people may develop serious mental health disorders, such as anxiety, stress, depression, and others.
You may set up small goals for your family. The goals should be easy enough to manage now. For example, ask your kids to clean their room, and announce a surprise for the kid who can do it first. You may ask your elders to compete in challenges such as preparing different and unique food items with limited ingredients. Ask your spouse to reorganise the bookshelf, learn a new skill, or pursue an old hobby. These activities may be a welcome distractions, but don’t put too much pressure on your family members if they don’t feel like participating in these activities.
It is important to note that if a member of your family is suffering with their mental health, they should still seek help from a medical professional.
8) Don’t hesitate to ask for help
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your mental health and feel like you can’t cope, you should opt for professional support.
People may hesitate to take help from mental health professionals, as there has been a growing mental health stigma. Stigmas associated with mental health issues normally come from distorted views that mental health patients are considered “aliens or different” from other normal people. Urban beliefs about mental health issues talk about demonic or spiritual possession, which led to fear, isolation, and discrimination between normal people and mental health patients.
But those are myths. People with mental health disorders very common, and their is no shame in asking for help.
9) Support and help others
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people’s concerns, worries, or behaviors at this time.
Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could message? Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally?
Remember, it is important to do this in line with official coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe.
10) Set limits on using all electronics
It’s bad for your wellbeing to spend a huge amount of time on your electronic devices such as TVs’ computers, smartphones, etc. If you find it difficult to keep your phone away, you may try to set up ‘electronics breaks’ into your daily routine. You may even set up an alarm to remind yourself about watching TV or surfing the Internet. For me, the best usage of a smartphone is listening to music, learning new things, and watching movies and shows that may make you happy. So stop lurking around through social media profiles and avoid gathering information about the destruction caused by a coronavirus. Do something pleasant, and creative. Here are a few more things you can do for your mental wellbeing during the lockdown.