How to maintain mental health in a pandemic year?
The world is experiencing a major mental health crisis. It is imperative that we have control over our health and our life during this period.
The pandemic is taking control of several situations. There is much that we do not know, there are things that we know little and there are others that we know and are obliged to fulfill. We do some with ease – washing of hands, wearing a mask whilst others with dislike, for example being away from family and friends.
With all this, we added the changes to our daily routine, and the uncertainty of the end of this pandemic.
On the other hand, if we already have a predisposition for stress and anxiety, all these new routines and situations that we live in, could be the last straw.
A recent study – “Mental Health in Times of Pandemic”, indicates that 25% of participants have moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress.
How do I monitor my mental health?
We are all different, and we all react in various ways. What we can do is not to evaluate the “normal” but what is healthy for you. That is, we are required to check our physical health regularly (fever, cough, or sore throat), right? We should also monitor our mental health at all times.
- Check how you feel, what trigger points cause reactions, negative responses, and uncontrolled attitudes.
- If you think that social media and television are causing some discomfort in your day, limit the use.
- If your children are resisting a routine, focus on maintaining good manners and kindness and avoid confusion.
Do not try to make everything perfect at this point, just focus on one situation that is causing you the most anxiety.
How to overcome the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic?
Negative thoughts, worries or even thinking about catastrophic things are normal when we feel anxious. The key is to raise awareness of these thoughts and react in the correct manner.
1. Ask yourself if this negative thinking is realistic.
Look for the reason behind that thought, look for information, facts. Sometimes looking for answers is not a good use of your energy, so sometimes recognizing that “time will tell” is the hardest, but the best solution.
2. Try to challenge these negative thoughts with a healthier alternative.
For example, instead of saying “this is awful” try “here is a challenge, and I’ve overcome a lot of challenges in my life, I’ll get this one”. Just make sure that it doesn’t replace negative thoughts with unrealistic ones.
3. Be gentle when you talk to yourself.
Communicate as if you were talking to your best friend. Be aware of your negative thoughts, but do not be slaughtered if you do not get what you want. Say to yourself, “Here is that negative thought again. You are reminding me to worry, however I will still do this because I know it will do me good”.
4. Talk to friends, family.
We are social beings; we need contact and support. Send a message or make a video call. Just say, “I was thinking about you” and see the result.
Exercise helps to combat anxiety. There are no gyms, but there is fresh air. Exercise does not necessarily have to be running for an hour or lifting weights.
Turn on the music and dance like no one is watching, go for a walk with your kids or pets. Go online and do exercise or stretches. We must be kind to ourselves and maintain serenity.
6. Eat with happiness.
As for food, if you do not feel like having vegetables, it does not matter. If the packet of chips is more appealing, go ahead and eat them (but not the entire bag).
Do what makes you feel good. Take small steps, for small victories. Remember, if you are generally doing less, spending less energy, then you also need to eat less to match your activity level.