Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic has become a top priority for many. Isolation from friends, loss of income, and staying cooped up at home take their toll mentally. Even going to the store could turn into an anxiety-ridden ordeal if you’re fearful about catching this nasty bug. Then there’s the distress of missing important life milestones — birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. Unfortunately, you might be dealing with the grief of losing a loved one to Covid-19.
Many folks already have to deal with anxiety-related issues every day. Now, there’s even more stress to deal with. You could start feeling afraid, anxious, angry, irritable, or helpless. And, possibly, coping mechanisms that worked in the past might not help your emotions now or may be restricted.
As the coronavirus restrictions drag on, many experts worry we’ll be facing a new health crisis — emotional burnout and a mental health pandemic. So, it’s no wonder that talking about mental health protection during coronavirus is a hot topic.
This article looks at solid medical advice on ways to protect your mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Impact of Coronavirus on Mental Health
The outbreak of Covid-19 in the community brought a whole mountain of uncertainty. No one really knows how long the coronavirus restrictions will last. Then you’re not sure about how to protect your health. Additionally, there’s a lot of false news flying around about this disease. So, in the space of a few days in March, everyone’s life was turned upside-down.
A medical journal reported that the Covid19 outbreak brings with it huge mental health challenges. For example, doctors say that worrying about getting infected, lockdown orders, monotony, constant concern about hygiene, caring for someone sick causes emotional distress. These factors can cause mental health issues or make existing ones worse.
Signs Someone Is Struggling With Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic
What are the tell-tale signs to look for that someone is having a tough time coping with the coronavirus restrictions? Maybe you’re worried about your own emotional well-being.
According to doctors, some symptoms that Covid-19 is affecting mental health include any of the following:
- Difficulties sleeping
- Chronic headaches and gastrointestinal problems
- Excessive worries about health
- Feelings of helplessness
- Increased irritability, aggression, or crying
- Difficulty making decisions
- Worsening of anxiety-related conditions or depression
How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Of course, stress and anxiety can affect us in different ways. However, during this health crisis, all of us need to look after our mental health. Even if we’re coping emotionally, we may need to support a loved one who’s having a tough time emotionally.
Let’s look at seven recommendations from medical professionals to help protect mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak.
1. Stay physical active
Even with stay-at-home orders, it’s still possible to exercise daily. Health experts recommend that during the lockdown, staying physically active is essential for your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Apart from boosting your “feel-good” hormone dopamine, physical activity strengthens your immune system.
Some ways to exercise without going to the gym include walking in the house, stair climbing, chair squats, pushups, and yoga. Also, you could check out some exercise videos on YouTube to help keep yourself physically active.
2. Maintain a routine
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic advise that it’s essential to keep a good routine. Sticking to your schedule helps to bring some certainty during the Covid-19 turmoil. So, keeping regular bedtimes and mealtimes is crucial. Also, dress for work or college — even if you’re studying or working from home. And don’t forget to plan some fun things to do with the kids.
If you work from home, try to keep to your regular hours. Avoiding the temptation to get up late and then work into the night will help prevent a ton of possible mental health issues.
3. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
You’re probably less active during the lockdown. So, eating delicious, balanced meals has never been more critical than now. The medical journal Cureus advises that a healthy diet can help avoid the mental health effects of Covid-19.
Now that you’ve more time at home, why not try out some delicious, healthy recipes. Try to include plenty of veggies and whole grains, as well as limiting saturated fats and salt. Cooking your own meals is also a great way to save money during the coronavirus crisis.
4. Take time out
Even though you might be struggling to fill your days, you still need time for yourself. Try to plan some time that you can relax and recharge. Remember that even if you think you’re not doing much, your mind is under more stress than usual.
So, you try listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a long soak in a bubble bath, or practicing deep breathing and mindfulness.
5. Limit exposure to news
You need to be informed about Covid19 and how to protect yourself. But many mental health experts advise limiting how much news your take in. Psychologists warn that watching too much news—real or fake—sets stress levels soaring. And, although social media is excellent for keeping in touch with friends, it can be a rumor factory.
6. Stay connected with family, friends, and work colleagues
It’s important to remember that social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation. Although you need to stay at home until restrictions are lifted, make virtual connections. Use WhatsApp, Facetime, email, or the good old-fashioned telephone. Call family and friends regularly, and, if you work from home, keep in contact with your colleagues from work.
If you shop around, you may be able to get some cheap unlimited phone plans to make social contacting easier and less expensive.
7. Reach out to others to protect mental health during coronavirus
Chances are that there are many people around you will appreciate your care. In fact, studies show that giving your time to others is excellent for your mental health. For example, reaching out to others makes you feel good, increases a sense of belonging, and helps keep things in perspective. In short, you feel happier doing things for others.
You may also be able to support someone who isn’t coping as well. You could spot the signs of failing mental health quickly and then help them get the needed emotional support.
When to Seek Help
The CDC recommends that you seek help for yourself or a loved one if symptoms of mental distress continue for several days in a row or worsen.
Coronavirus Mental Health Protection
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our health in so many ways. Apart from protecting ourselves from Covid-19’s physical effects, it is also crucial to protect your mental health during this crisis.