As the world faces a pandemic, our leaders rushed to impose strict quarantine measures to control the virus. These measures pushed most of us into our self-isolation – from lockdowns, closure of establishments, and prohibition of mass gatherings. Although these measures are for our safety, it can cause sudden disengagement from society.
The whole situation can take a toll on our mental health. Assimilating into this new way of life and balancing all the uncertainty can be mentally exhausting.
In this article, we are going to discuss the effect of the pandemic on your mental health. We have also listed down suggestions on taking care of your mental health during this time.
How The Pandemic Can Affect Your Mental Health
With over 3.3 million cases and counting, the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly spreading. Fear of contracting the virus can have an impact on our mental health. We worry about our safety as well as the safety of our friends and family. This fear and uncertainty can turn into anxiety, especially with news of worsening conditions every day.
Quarantine measures to control the situation also forced us to change our lives drastically and abruptly. Loneliness can also manifest as we practice self-isolation measures. These negative thoughts can worsen, as the activities we usually do to cope with or seeing loved ones may be temporarily prohibited.
The impact of the pandemic – uncertainty, disrupted daily routines, financial pressures, and social isolation – can cause stress and negatively impact our mental health. This effect can manifest into various symptoms such as lack of sleep, concentration problems, uneasiness, irritability, and even substance abuse.
Everyone is at risk. According to Dr. Jared Skillings, PhD, ABPP, “I think we’re going to see both new cases of people never had having a mental health issue where that comes up for them now and I think we’re going to see a resurgence of people who had a mental health issues come back because it’s going to bring a lot of things to the surface that are difficult.”
How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health During A Pandemic
During this time of the pandemic, it is not only enough to practice measures to avoid the virus itself. We must also practice steps to ensure that our mental health is sound. We have listed down some suggestions on how you can take care of your mental health.
- Establish A Routine And Set Boundaries
One of the mentally exhausting effects of the pandemic is abruptly changing our daily routines. As we follow pandemic measures and settle into a new way of living, it is essential to establish new habits and set boundaries. It can help give back structure to our disorganized state of mind.
- Limit Consumption Of News And Identify Stressors
Every day we are bombarded by news about the pandemic, and this can increase anxiety and fear. Although keeping up to date with news is essential, try to limit your exposure to them. Set a schedule to get updates and ensure that they come from credible sources.
- Live A Healthy Lifestyle
Being physically healthy can be beneficial to your mental health. Getting enough rest, eating properly, and exercising can help improve overall mood. Being fit can also help build the immune system not only to avoid the virus but also to feel good physically.
- Connect With And Check Up On Loved Ones
The threat of the virus and being forced us into isolation can make us worry about our loved ones. Not seeing them and knowing that they are at risk can make us uneasy. To ease some of these feelings, find ways to connect and check up on them regularly.
- Relax And Meditate
As we are always in our homes, you might think that you are still relaxing. However, idling is different from relaxing. It is vital to set uninterrupted leisure time to relax and free your mind from stress. With a lot of things happening simultaneously, you can also explore meditation to take a break and help you cleanse your mind.
Taking care of our mental health can help us be more capable of dealing with such a challenging time. A healthy state of mind will enable us to adjust easier, continue doing our tasks, help others, and support loved ones.
This is the main reason why I had BetterHelp counselors for support. They are very warm and friendly. Of course, they are professionals but their level of professionalism extends to sincerity. They really want me to heal.
Although people react differently to situations, these occurrences can be overwhelming for anyone. It is essential to keep your mental health in check regularly. By recognizing how the pandemic is affecting you, you will be able to take care of your mental health better.