Living with COVID-19
The corona virus is here to stay and we have to learn to living with it. Apart from fulfilling hygiene routines and maintaining physical health, it's extremely important for us to take care of our mental health
We have come to the half year mark of 2020. Half the year has passed by with us trying to acclimatize to the ever changing rules and regulations regarding restriction of movement as well as the the uncertainties of the corona virus itself. The corona virus is here to stay and we have to learn to living with it. Apart from fulfilling hygiene routines and maintaining physical health, it's extremely important for us to take care of our mental health.
All of us have probably experienced a plethora of emotional distress at one point or another. The threat of the COVID-19 contagion can make us feel, think and behave completely
unexpectedly to ordinary everyday situations. This twisting of our minds due to the pandemic, makes us feel very uncomfortable and can lead us to depression, anxiety, frustration, aggression, chronic feelings of isolation and to psychosomatic illnesses (e.g.,
irritible bowel syndrome, allergies, insomnia, panic attacks, etc.). We as humans, whether child or adult, are somewhat resilient beings and can try to tap into our inner strengths
to help ourselves. Developing coping mechanisms will also be invaluable in aiding to alleviate them.
Planning our day helps to reduce stress, which leads to better mental health. It makes us feel safe and stable and we are better able to manage difficulties when things are more predictable. A routine gives a purpose for the day, without having to think about what do we have to do next. It helps us to be more in control when things don't seem to be. As things are changing rapidly everyday, we may have to modify our routines more frequently. In this case, it's more beneficial to have daily routines than weekly ones.
2. Consistent Interaction
Human beings are social creatures. We crave social and emotional interaction. Eventhough the lockdown has relaxed, the virus is very much alive. Apart from tele chatting and video chatting, one can look for other platforms of interest to keep them connected with their surroundings. Reaching out to people who seem to have recoiled socially due to stress and anxiety, will help them feel less isolated and more cared for.
3. Digital Detox
Digital detox simply refers to our refraining from using devices (smartphones, laptops, computers, social media, etc.) for a period of time. This in turn opens up avenues for better social interaction and helps reduce stress and anxiety due to constant bombardments from social media. We seem have developed a parasitic relationship with the information towards the current pandemic. The more we are afraid of it, the more we
want information on it which inturn feeds our fear. Paranoia in terms of racism and xenophobia is also on a climb as a result of it.
Digitally detoxing opens up more time for us to engage with nature, to exercise, to developing passions and hobbies as well as practicing mindfulness. Passions and hobbies
that only involve ourselves help us to develop our capacity to be alone as well as gives us the excitement to look forward to it everyday. Mindfulness is a state of mind which involves us to be in the here and now, the present. We generally get trapped thinking
about the past, which may lead to depression and anger or the future, which may lead to anxiety and fear. There are many mindfulness activities that one can practice even for a few minutes in a day that can help one to be in the moment.
4. In Touch with Feelings
Being more in touch with our emotions and feelings can help avert extreme emotional states like anger outbursts, rage, panic attacks, anxiety and frustrations, to
name a few. Once we are aware of how we feel, we are better able to verbally express our emotions rather than behaviourally acting it out on ourselves, our loved ones (domestic abuse) or our environment. Being able to talk about difficult feelings to a trusted
friend or family member can be helpful or talking to a trained psychologist or psychotherapist can also help alleviate the emotional pain.
Lastly, being humble and accepting other's viewpoints can also help us manage our pain and frustrations. It keeps us grounded.
The saying, 'there is a light at the end of the tunnel', is quite apt here. This is not a permanent state of being. Although it may seem dark at the moment, we have to rely on our ability to see spurts of bright light and silver linings throughout all of this.
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