The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has proved to be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease are overwhelming and causing strong emotions in adults and children. Dealing with anxiety in a scientific way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Anxiety and concern about your own health and the health of your dear ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Below are some ways to stay connected, manage your emotions, and along with that practice good self-care for positive mental health.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings
Fear and concern are very normal reactions to extraordinary circumstances – COVID-19 and its ripple effects have never been seen in this lifetime. Focus on what you can control – not the unknown – and taking steps to help yourself feel better.
Reach out to talk, laugh and listen
You may not be able to gather with friends and family in person, but there’s nothing stopping you from connecting by phone, text, email, social media, or free video platforms like Skype or Zoom.
Use this extra time at home to reach out to people you aren’t regularly in contact with and help reestablish those relationships. You’ll likely find that those you know and love are having some of the same feelings you are – and it feels good to share them and spend time with each other.
Maintain structure in your day
Keeping a schedule will help regulate sleep, which helps ward off anxiety and depression. Make a to-do list every day, so you’ll have small goals to achieve and can experience a sense of accomplishment. Even something as small as putting the dishes away or organizing the medicine cabinet comes with an extra feeling of satisfaction when you cross it off a list.
Eat a balanced diet
What you eat doesn’t just ignite your body, it feeds your brain, too. Make sure you are feeding your mind a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Times of stress make us prone to emotional eating, so be especially mindful of “eating your feelings.”
Gentle stretching, work-out videos, walking around your backyard – there are many ways to benefit from exercise even when the gym is closed. Try to do 30 minutes of some exercise every day to release feel-good endorphins.
Reflect on the good
There is a lot that can worry us in the world right now, but it’s still possible to find good in every day. Take 10 minutes to think about the small pleasures that are still parts of your daily life, such as that first cup of coffee you get to linger over at your kitchen table, or the social media posts showing how strangers are finding ways to help each other under these new circumstances. Identifying one thing you are thankful for before falling asleep each night can help you stay focused on the positive in the midst of uncertainty.
One more thing is there that we should always keep in mind if we all stand together and help each other in the demanding period, we can defeat anything.