How is COVID-19 affecting our mental health?

The COVID-19 outbreak shocks the entire world. Its impact on us is so powerful that it not only affects our physical health but puts strain on our mental health as well. Our constant irritation, worry and fear are natural and predictable reactions to the uncertain pandemic that the entire world is in right now. 

In a pandemic like this, we have to stay home to protect our families and ourselves. But have you noticed it’s impact on our mental health? 

The virus has shown its impact on many people who were already struggling and going through mental health problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and many others. This epidemic has also affected people who were mentally fit. It is very essential for us to stay calm in a situation like this. 

As we are staying home and looking at the same four walls in our house everyday, it is quite easy for our minds to fluctuate and think about things which are of less importance, which can increase the tension. To avoid this situation of over-thinking, one can engage themselves into doing something productive, this is the best time to bring out your inner chef or start a new hobby. 

It is important to be updated and aware of the happenings around the world but the constant repetition of one issue can also create tension in one’s mind. To avoid this, binge watch some series or re-watch some of your favourite movies or read that book you have been wanting to, but never had time. 

Here are a few precautions to reduce the stress, anxiety and other related issues, caused by this pandemic. 

WHO suggests, to reduce the amount of news we are in-taking about COVID-19 and to only take news from reliable sources. 

Forbes suggests, to create a routine for your daily activities. “With the closures of businesses and schools, creating a go-forward plan for you and your family will help keep your mind at ease. This could mean creating an at-home routine and schedule for remote work amid social distancing,” says Dr. Mimi Winsberg, co-founder and chief medical officer of Brightside.

BBC suggests, to have breaks from social media and mute things which are/can be triggering. And to wash your hands but not excessively. For people with OCD and anxiety, being told to constantly wash your hands can be difficult to hear. 

Talk  to someone who might help you in your problems or take help from an expert. We are all in this together. 

Stay in contact with your friends and family through social media and take help from them if you feel anxious or sad. 

Exercising is one of the ways to keep your body fit and it also helps in reducing stress, anger and frustration. Also, practicing deep breathing or meditation are also great ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Deep breathing helps you regulate your emotions by activating your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) which helps slow the heart rate and restore the feeling of calm, tells Dr Vincent.  Here are some breathing exercises you can do, that can help you relax. 

During this time, being productive is a good idea but somewhere it can also put more pressure in one’s mind. Remember, being productive is a choice and not a necessity. You must do what makes you happy.