Looking After Your Mental Health During A Pandemic 101

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We are in the middle of a pandemic, people are suffering, doctors are working day and night, inflation has hit us, even our salaries are at stake, we have been sitting at our homes for over a month now. Amidst everything going so wrong these days, it is hard to say that our mental health has not taken a hit. Especially for people suffering from anxiety and chronic stress, the lockdown has posed several challenges. Being surrounded by their families all the time with no outlet to let go of their baggage, not being able to meet their friends or partners, not following the daily routine, the lockdown has imposed difficulties for people dealing with their mental health.

For those who already experience feelings of loneliness, the lockdown and social-distancing worsen their feeling of being alone. But not just them, the ongoing crisis has psychologically made things worse for all people in many small ways. The hopelessness and despair can also be accounted for the lack of certainty associated with the situation. Excessive irritability, lack of attention and concentration, incidents of acting out, and insomnia can all be signs that you need to take a breather and take care of your mental health. You need to understand that you are not alone in this. The whole world is tackling the situation together and everybody is in it with each other. 

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Here are some ways to look after your mental health and deal with the situation better: 

  1. Limiting Media Consumption – media consumption can be taken in two ways. The first is, of course, social media and the second one is news. While limiting the use of social media and its impact is quite understood, the impact of the same with consuming news is lesser-known. Be it of any kind, print, television, or online, news can really hamper your mental peace. Learning about the increase in the number of deaths due to the virus, how far we are from developing a vaccine for the same, or how the disease is impacting the economy, everything presented in the news can make you feel hopeless about the present situation. Excessive consumption of news can lead to anxiety, despair, and the feeling of “nothing can ever be right again”. Instead, one should adhere to reading the headlines and the top news at a particular time of the day. This way, you are not being naive about the current scenario and are also not straining yourself. 
  2. Productivity Guilt – you know how everything has affected our daily routine which in turn has gotten us into a situation where we are not reading like we used to, we are not making notes as we used to, not being able to up to date with our work schedule. All these small failures can indeed lead to a person feeling guilty about not being productive. There are days when we are only lazing around the house and not doing anything constructive in particular. Allow those days to pass, reflect upon them, see what went wrong because everybody is allowed to have a breather without feeling bad about it. The situation is unexpected and something we have never been prepared for, so you should not shy away from doing anything at all for a few days, you are doing your best. 
  3. Organize Your Closet – I don’t want to be your mom when I say this but organizing your closet can be very therapeutic. It must be months since you have discarded the old clothes and made way for the new ones in your wardrobe. Take some time out and take those winter clothes out and bring in the summer, floral, flowy dresses. Who knows you would find that one shirt you really like which you have been looking for forever? 
  4. Start a New Hobby – this comes from personal experience. Learning something new and seeing that you are actually good at it can really make you feel accomplished. Feeling good about yourself and your life is actually the crux of looking after your mental health. I started cooking during the quarantine time and trust me when I say this, I am in love with it. Learning new things can be very therapeutic, it makes you realize that you are good at so many things that you have never even tried.
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Coping mechanisms are personal. Nobody else can really understand or make you understand how they are being able to overcome a problem by indulging in a certain activity. As much as the above-mentioned activities are recommended, one should not shy away from developing hobbies of their own and not let the pandemic make them anxious.

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