Your Mental Health Amidst COVID19 Pandemic

Fear, Stress, and Anxiety amidst the Pandemic

As we battle this Coronavirus pandemic, our levels of stress, anxiety, and fear has increased and has gotten the most of us. The COVID19 situation has taken a toll on our mental health.

With city lockdowns in place, people panic over goods, hygiene products, and other basic necessities. Students and parents worry over school-related activities and are adjusting to virtual learning set-ups. Others have lost their jobs due to temporary work shut-down. Some lawmakers and leaders are making abrupt decisions that scare the public but with a promise that they are all looking for a panacea for this pandemic.

Keeping Your Mental Health In Check amidst COVID19

During a crisis like this, we have to stay calm and collected, so that we will be able to think soundly and become part of the solution instead of becoming part of the problem. We must keep our sanity in check so that we may behave accordingly during uncertain times.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, different people react differently to traumatic events. How one person reacts to a situation also depends largely on the person's background, environment, understanding, individuality, age, and personal situation. We all have very valid reasons to become anxious as we deal with the COVID19 pandemic, but to keep calm, one should always remember to pause and reflect on oneself.

What to look out for

It's normal for people to feel a range of emotions or unusual feelings and behavior during the COVID19 pandemic. Some common reactions would be:

- Feeling overly stressed and  overwhelmed
- Fear and anxiety
- Sadness
- Frustration, impatience, and irritability
- Restlessness and inability to relax
- feeling lost or fearful of the future

Some may also experience physical symptoms like stomach upset, headaches, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and many other uncomfortable sensations. All of these are valid reactions when faced with a crisis such as a global pandemic.

5 Tips to Stay Calm During a Pandemic

When things are uncertain, and we feel out of control, the best way to help ourselves during a stressful situation is to focus on what you CAN control.  There is no point troubling yourself about the things beyond your control, you are only adding to your pile of stresses when you try to mind about everything.

During this challenging time, we need to put more effort into making sure we look after our mental health. Here are 5 tips to keep our mental health in check amidst COVID19:

1. Protect yourself from the virus and follow the quarantine protocols in your area

Your first line of defense during a virus outbreak is your health and hygiene. Keeping yourself free from the virus by ensuring you are practicing healthy habits and good hygiene will help you stay calm during the pandemic.

Following the protocols of the community quarantine is one of the ways you can truly keep yourself away from the virus. Knowing that you are doing everything that you can to protect yourself will help you stay less anxious about the situation.

2. Be informed but use what you know wisely

As this is a time of uncertainty, keeping in the know about what is happening is essential. When you know what is up, you can plan for the days to come. But with a plethora of information that is readily accessible in social media, it is hard to determine which of the information is factual or not.

The internet has all the bits and pieces of information that you need to know about the COVID19 pandemic. Ensure that you hear from reliable sources of information like the WHO, CDC, DOH, if you are from the Philippines, official pages of your community, and other centers responsible for informing the public on what is current.

We will find many depressing stories of increasing Coronavirus cases and deaths all over the world, and the action of the leaders, lawmakers, and researchers about the virus. There are inspiring stories, too, of those who have recovered from their battle with the virus, and the good deeds of companies, groups, and private individuals amidst the pandemic. Whatever  it is that you find on the news, ensure that you are not becoming a victim of fake news, which only causes fear-mongering among us all. Also, do not play a part in sharing fake news.

3. Acknowledge and share what you feel

It is just normal to feel a wide range of emotions and racing thoughts during the COVID19 pandemic. It is normal to experience anxiety, stress, or anger during a crisis. Talking to people you trust can help you release your anxieties and apprehensions.

4. Disconnect to connect

Disconnect temporarily from the online world. Although it is essential to be in the know, it is crucial to know when you need to stop looking for any more information. If you feel that the news is starting to overwhelm you, then you might want to pause from listening, reading, and watching anything about the pandemic. Hearing too much about the pandemic over and over again may be frustrating and upsetting.

While you disconnect from COVID19 news, you may start connecting with your family and friends and talk about other things that are rather happy and exciting than sad. Use the time off from work and school to connect with your loved ones and do something you love doing as a family.

5. Contribute

Being able to do something for your friends, family, or your community will help you have a grasp of what is truly happening in the world instead of just focusing on your fears. As valid as it is, your worries are just your thoughts. Your actions during a crisis are what matters.

Doing something for others during a time like this will not only help you shift your mind away from the panic, but this will also foster a sense of hope and meaning not just for yourself but also for others. Taking part does not have to be big actions, simple things like writing a card for patients and front liners, donating to a cause, sharing awareness, and being kind will really go a long way.

Your Mental Health is Important amidst COVID19 Pandemic

WHO has released an official message about mental health and other psychosocial considerations during the COVID19 outbreak. It is best to refer to their message so that everyone will be guided accordingly.  The considerations in the official document released were created by the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use to support the mental and psychosocial well-being in different target groups during the outbreak.

As we are at home for the quarantine, it is best to find ways to help keep yourself sane. Ensuring that we are physically and mentally healthy is key to resilience during the COVID19 pandemic

Finally, let us all hope and PRAY that COVID19 will play out soon.


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