Coronavirus has affected our lives two ways – first, by putting our life at risk and second, by forcing us to stay home and practice social distancing. If one goes out, one might catch the Chinese virus. And if one chooses to stay at home, one might develop a series of mental health conditions including stress and depression.
So What Risks Our Mental Health?
People fear they might get infected by the deadly virus. Some people are stressed that their loved one(s) can develop symptoms of the disease.
Coronavirus has snatched jobs of innumerable people around the world. The fear of having no job and food is also a major cause of depression.
Due to lockdown, people can’t move from one place to another; many are locked down, spending a lonely life at their home. Loneliness is one of the prime reasons behind stress, chronic anxiety, and negative thoughts.
Change in Eating Patterns –
There is a big difference between our eating habits at work and at home. We tend to eat less and in small portions, and move more when at work. But when we are at home, we eat more in larger portion sizes and move less.
A large number of people complain about weight gain and issues with their digestive system. Apparently, weight gain has been linked with stress and related mental health conditions.
Man is a social animal. Most of us are forced to stay inside our homes because of lockdown. In many countries, there is a curfew and people aren’t even allowed to go outside.
It is easier for those who are locked down with their family. But those living by their own have to deal with a great deal of stress.
Sleep deprivation can also be linked with the cases of mental health popping up. People are spending more time on their smart phone, browsing social media and mostly consuming R-rated visual content. Scientists warn that using a mobile phone for extended hours can lead us towards serious mental health conditions.
The term called “isolation” is also making people sick. Negative thoughts, suicidal tendencies, sleep deprivation, and a reduced interest in food are some of the signs that being unsocial is making you mentally sick.
Some of the other reasons include – worsening medical conditions and unemployment.
Mental health conditions can be labeled normal during the corona crisis. But that does not mean that we should live with such conditions. Here’s how to manage mental health during COVID-19 outbreak –
Develop a Healthy and Active Routine –
So what if it is lockdown out there. You can still follow a super active lifestyle that keeps you healthy – not just physically but also mentally.
- Include exercise, yoga, and meditation in your daily routine
- Take your meals on time
- Preferably, cook your meals at home by yourself
- Get plenty of (at least 8 hours of ) sleep every day
- Spend time with kids
- Play with pets
- Listen to your favorite music and artists
- Take time for phone/video call with loved ones
- Meet your work-related deadlines (if you are working from home)
- Read (at least one or two pages every day)
Apart from these, you will need to monitor your screen use closely. Limit your usage if you notice that you are spending more than two to three hours staring at your TV or mobile screen every day.
If you have developed some unhealthy habits such as alcoholism, this is your time to quit them. Alcoholism has a direct connection with your stress level.
DO NOT Believe Every News You Listen –
During the pandemic, it is easy to get victimized by fake news and rumors. We now have access to many reliable and unreliable sources of information – for example, television, radio, newspaper, and social network.
People easily believe and share fake news on social network. Such stories have been designed to clinch the attention of users, and divert a good amount of traffic to the creator’s website/blog. And just for your information, increased traffic on the creator’s website means more money he makes.
In a time like this, you must verify the source of information, before spreading it. Act as a responsible citizen, and do not share a blog/article/image/video, just because one of your close friends has shared it on their timeline.
Limit Your Sources of Information –
Now that you agree that fake news and rumors move faster than a fighter jet, it is time for you to stop consuming news from every source or corner.
Some of the most reliable sources of news are – television, radio, and newspaper. If you want news stories on your phone, don’t rely on random YouTube chatters. They are just sharing their views, not news.
Instead, you could download the authentic app of your favorite news portal. Remember, no third-part news apps.
The idea is to keep yourself busy and away from a condition called “I have nothing to do”. Plan your activities for the next day in advance.
But keeping yourself too busy will not help either. You should take breaks and offs while working. Taking rest is important for your mental wellbeing. If you do not get enough sleep in a 24-hour day, you will have an inactive or less active next day – which might become a reason for delayed schedule and stress.
The coronavirus is going to stay for quite some time now, as many scientists believe. You will need to be prepared for that. And for that, you will need to be fit physically as well as mentally.