As more and more individuals seek treatment for symptoms of COVID-19, reports also show that there is a significant increase in the number of people reaching out for help, as the stress from this time of crisis and self-isolation is already taking its toll on their mental health.
In an article on Forbes, Rhiana Holmes, a trauma therapist, said that “depression and anxiety thrive on social isolation and disruption of routine, making the coronavirus pandemic and resulting quarantines prime for mental health upheavals.”
According to CDC, the effect of stress during an infectious disease outbreak can cause changes in sleep and/or eating patterns, difficulty in sleeping and concentration, increased use of alcohol, tobacco, and/or drugs, and worsening of chronic health problems.
That being said, it is very important to protect our well-being, and not just our physical health.
To do that, here are 5 helpful tips that you can do to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:
1. Limit your news intake.
Staying informed about what’s happening to the world right now is very important. However, too much of it, especially from social media, can have negative implications. The World Health Organization suggests to “seek information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.”
On your social media accounts, try to unfollow accounts that focus on negativity – complaints, fake news and depressing stories. Instead, look for pages that spread joy, laughter and inspiration. Trust me, unsubscribing from negativity is one of the best ways to ease anxiety and depression.
2. Connect with others.
Although social-distancing has caused physical disconnection, it doesn’t mean that we have to cut our connection with the world. Now, more than ever, is the most crucial time to reach out to family, friends, and even strangers, in order to gain and give each other emotional support during such a difficult time.
The whole world is suffering right now but thanks to the internet, we can still make calls, send messages and have video conferences. So take advantage of this, and check on each other.
3. Maintain a healthy diet.
Our physical health and mental health are connected to each other, therefore, a healthy diet is highly important. Eat a well-balanced meal during proper meal times, stay hydrated, have adequate sleep every night and stay physically active.
4. Spend time outside.
Spending time with nature helps relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and well-being. Since going out is not advised, your private outdoor space will do – your garden, balcony, porch or backyard. Even just opening the windows and letting the sunshine and fresh air into your room can already do wonders.
5. Vary your activities.
As much as you want to just sleep and be lazy all day, having a mundane life can make you feel more depressed and anxious. Instead, look for different activities that you can fill your free time.
Try out things that you’ve never done before, learn something new, make DIY projects, cook new recipes, read Christian romance novels, start a journal, do puzzles— anything as long as you don’t do the same thing everyday.
Don’t let this time of crisis draw out joy and hope from your life. You are stronger than this, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.