Gone are the days when phrases like “love is in the air “ seemed believable or unquestionable. For since the outbreak of this pandemic one thing that has been in the air and is continuing to grow is “paranoia” and not just during the pandemic, this feeling of paranoia is going to stay with us even after when this covid ends. With every passing day and month, with every news of death due to covid and the more and more stories of people suffering and succumbing to the most unfortunate times of their fate, this feeling is just growing exponentially. And the worst affected in these times are the sufferers of mental conditions, those with a prolonged history of OCD , the ones with anxiety issues, etc and as we move forward in this dark abyss, we should prepare ourselves to see a world with more mental health patients than ever. And the reasons are quite obvious. With such intense promotion of the use of sanitisers and washing hands now and then as a basic first step to fight covid is indeed a must but this will leave more people who suffer from hygiene linked OCD, the fear of diseases or getting ill will constantly degrade the ability of humans to remain positive, similarly people with anxiety issues won’t be able to distinguish between the symptoms of a panic attack and respiratory disfunction, as we all know both covid and anxiety have a common symptom i.e, shortness of breath, and the ones who have lost their dear ones to this virus, they are at higher risk of acquiring PTSD. In addition to all this, the world will be much more uncertain than it already was, and uncertainty or the fear from it is worse than any other disease, it doesn’t let one look to the brighter side and take a positive leap of faiths to excel in their lives.
Now amidst all this environment filled with fear and uncertainty what are the active steps being taken to make sure we are not left with a world full of frightened and mentally weak people? What is being done to ensure healthy minds? From what I am seeing and hearing all around are cries for help, people giving out advice to boost immunity or to keep up the physical health, WhatsApp forwards are just being a tool to spread fear among people in the guise of care and concerned filled messages, in short, there is utter chaos and a state of panic everywhere around. everyone is talking about keeping the heart healthy, by doing cardio exercises, yoga etc but no one is talking about the brain, its as if they have forgotten that it is the brain which is the control centre of our body, it is brain that controls the breathing and heartbeat, so why is no one talking about keeping it well functioning?
Is there any answer to these questions? Is there still a way, a solution or is it too late? Well, no it is not too late, we still can do and make the best of what we can. I know in these times if I ask you to “be positive”, that perhaps won’t be the best of advice. Positivity is necessary but its not any switch that one can just turn on. However, there are ways you can be away from mental stress in this currently prevailing atmosphere of negativity. So here are a few tips for managing and taking care of your mental health in these odd times.
- The first and the most important thing to do is, always keep the contact number of the emergency services in your place handy.
- Keep a check on your emotions, to do so you can try out activities such as journaling or dairy writing.
- Talk to your loved ones, make them and yourself feel loved during this phase. Love and self love is the key after all . if you feel stressed, vent out your emotions to a friend or anyone you trust.
- For people with a history of mental conditions, always stay in touch with your therapist, and if you are not seeking one, it’s time that you do. If you are on medications, do not skip them and eat as much healthy food as you can for those medicines to not harm your other organs.
- These are the times when our adult brains are finding it difficult to cope up with the anxiety and grief-struck environment around, so what I feel we should do is to bring out the child in ourselves, the child we haven’t met for quite some time now. Do activities which make you happy, try painting, acting, singing, dance to the tunes in your mind, play games with family, watch cartoons you miss, talk to friends over call.
- The advice which is mostly given out when someone is ill is “bed rest”, but I do not think covid is the kind of illness that requires being in the bed all the time and just filling your intestines with medicines. The ideal thing on the contrary would be to keep your brain and body active and for that you don’t need to do strenuous activities, light movements like cleaning your bookshelf ( wear mask if its dusty!) , or de cluttering your phone gallery, arranging your cupboard, managing your documents etc are more than enough, this does two benefits at once, it keeps you active and distracted from “feeling”ill.
- This one is for those who are taking care of covid patients, do not , and i repeat DO NOT forget yourself while taking care of your loved ones. I understand it can be really exhausting and overwhelming and it is same for the best of us, but if you have a healthy functioning mind and body , then only can you ensure a positive environment for the patient. So eat well, and rest better.
- Another division of our population we talk less of in this pandemic are our little warriors, the children below 18 , or the school/college going students. It might not be visible but they are too going through a tough time. The ghost of uncertainty hasn’t spared them as well, on the top of that the lack of planning in our educational institutions have put our little ones at higher risk of chronic stress and hopelessness, but to all of them , only thing i can say is see the brighter side, you can consider it as a little phase or extra vacations ( just without travel !) , so use it to take the rest that you all wanted from all the studies , or to hone your skills, to learn something new. You can also consider this pandemic as some video game, where you just have to survive while your teammates ( the doctors and scientists) are trying to fight it off.
I know there are still a lot that can be said, that needs to be done. A lot better advice that i could have given, but honestly this is all the basic I know, the general tips we all know already, but when panic knocks the door we forget them. So I am not telling you anything new , just reminding you. There are a few mental health resources out there as well, I will mention them below in case any of you needs to know. I hope you take up whatever you can from this article and save yourselves from getting into worse situations when this all ends.
Mental health resources.
- India –
( or you can visit the official sites of the government healthcare departments of you respective countries )
Stay safe, take all precautions, and do not forget to smile.
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