Taking care of your mental health: Why it matters in time of a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak may be stressful for some people. As the world continuously witness the world change, fear and anxiety can affect their mental health and take a toll on their general well-being.  

According to studies, stress and anxiety can greatly affect one’s health and well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported many manifestations of stress amid the pandemic including difficulty of sleeping, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, worsening of chronic health and mental health problems, and increased use of alcohol and tobacco. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common to experience stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness during this difficult time. However, it is important to manage it by learning different strategies and coping mechanisms.   

Taking care of your mental health will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Here are some ways and strategies that can be helpful to practice during the outbreak:  

Take sanity breaks  

The news from the media and social networking site feeds can be overwhelming and stressful. Practice taking mini breaks from watching, reading, or listening to the news, especially if it is about the statistics of the virus. Being informed about relevant information is always helpful but getting anxiety from too much exposure to crisis-related news can also increase stress levels.   

It is advisable to limit your time scrolling on your social media accounts. Aside from mental stress, excessive use of phones and tablets can also cause eye strain and body aches.  

Take care of your mind by limiting your screen time. It is also a good practice to turn off any electronic device for some time each day including 30 minutes before projected bedtime.  

Stick to Routines 

Changes may be stressful for your mind. Experts suggest developing and maintaining a regular schedule is very beneficial for mental health. Stick to routines such as regular bedtimes, consistent times for meals, bathing and getting dressed, preparing for work or studying, and exercising. The predictability can make you feel more in control and would ease the brain.  

Stay busy 

Use this time to enjoy hobbies that you can do home, learn a new skill or two, develop healthy habits, and start a project that you have been planning to do. Staying busy can be a healthy distraction from negative thoughts. This can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.  

Focus on positive thoughts  

Focusing on the positive side of things is a healthy way of coping with stress and anxiety. While this can be hard for some, doing little things such as listing the things you are thankful for daily can mean a lot to your mental health. Instead of dwelling on how bad things are going, focus on the things you can control and keep problems in perspective.  

Connect with others  

Now more than ever, the need for connection is very important. Since everybody is away from each other due to social distancing and the community quarantine, hone virtual connections by video chats, phone calls, text messaging, and other similar apps. If you are working remotely from home, ask your co-workers how they are doing and talk about things outside of work.  

It would be also helpful for your mental health to voice out your concerns and how are you feeling with people you trust.