Looking after your Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is still on and people all over the world are mostly confined to their home. This restriction in movement is leading to huge changes to the ways we live our daily lives and our routines, which in turn is affecting our mental health.

Meanwhile, trends like work from home, recent job loss, home-schooling through online education of kids, and lack of physical contact with friends and colleagues are taking considerable toll on our minds. These lifestyle changes, fear of virus and anxiety regarding our loved ones, particularly those with comorbidities, are immensely challenging for all of us. However, the prevailing situation is especially difficult for those with mental health conditions.

Good news is we can take care of our own mental health by following certain rules and behaviours and also extend help to those in need of some extra support and care.

Information is power

Hence keep informed. Follow the advice and recommendations shared by national and local authorities. Watch reputed media channels and stay up-to-date with the latest news from WHO.

Minimize newsfeeds 

Watching, reading or listening to news can make you anxious or distraught. Reduce your consumption and keep it to only accessing the latest information at a particular time of the day. We are social animals and our social contacts pay vital roles in our overall well being. If you are unable to physically meet, stay connected with your close ones by means of telephone and online tools or apps.

Alcohol and drug use

By all means set a limit to your alcohol consumption and if possible don’t drink at all. Also, this is not the right time to start drinking alcohol if you have not tasted it before. Using alcohol or drugs for combating fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation, is never good for your mental health.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that no indication of any defensive effect of alcohol on viral or other infections is available in medical science. In fact, the doctors across the globe associate harmful effects of alcohol with increased threat of infections and worse treatment outcomes. Also, alcohol and drugs could stop you from taking enough safety measures to shield yourself against infection, such as maintaining hand hygiene.

Also read: Coping With Addiction During Covid

Screen time 

This is another area of concern for all. Too much screen time can be very harmful for the mind. Ensure that you take regular breaks. Video games are a great and popular way to relax, but if you spend too much time with them, they too can create mental stress. Remember to keep a balance and a limit to these activities.

It is also important to use social media accounts qualitatively by promoting positive and hopeful messages and also by correcting misinformation wherever possible.

Some more useful tips –

  • Make a routine and try to keep up with it as much as possible.  
  • Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Be careful about your personal hygiene.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes.
  • Mark a proper timing for working and for taking rest.
  • Follow your passion and find time for doing things you love.

Spread love

This is also the time to empathise and help others by offering support to people in need. More importantly, don’t discriminate against people because of your fears of the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, support health workers and whenever possible thank them and all those working as COVID-19 frontline personnel. 

Caution for those undergoing treatment for mental health condition

If you are undergoing treatment and therapy for a mental health condition, do continue to take medication as per prescription, and ensure that you have regular supply of your medication. Find out ways of support during the outbreak. Another very effective way is to keep in touch with those who care for you, these are the people you can contact for support in case of any emergency.

If you are undergoing treatment for an alcohol or drug usage disorder, keep in mind that the coronavirus outbreak may raise your levels of fear, anxiety and isolation. This in turn can increase the risk of relapse, substance use, and discontinuation of treatment or non-compliance with treatment routines. By all means keep taking medication as prescribed by your doctor or therapist. This is particularly true if you are getting treated with opioid medicines like methadone or buprenorphine. Be sure about regular supply of your medication. Talk to your therapist or caregiver to find out the best ways of continuing the therapy during the ongoing pandemic.

Till the pandemic persists, make sure that you maintain a high level of self-care, and self-validation – each of us taking care of ourselves while being connected with others in ways possible. Let us make a chain of love and kindness where we spread consciousness by upholding self-care and self discipline.

DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you will find a select few, highly-qualified doctors, unlike other online platforms with thousands of doctors. So you can be assured of receiving excellent, honest, personalized care from the best doctors.