How to protect your mental health during Covid-19
How to protect your mental health during Covid-19. As news about the coronavirus, or Covid-19, continue to dominate news headlines around the world, it’s now more important than ever to take care of our mental health.
Pandemics such as the one we are currently in ignite fear, panic and stress. When fear takes control, your nervous system and emotional part of your brain go into overdrive.
If you’re feeling anxious, scared, frustrated or confused, know that you are not alone. Take a deep breathe and try to follow these tips to improve your mental health.
Cut Back On Social Media
Your brain is built to problem solve. And when you are naturally fearful, it will seek out stimuli in your external environment to reinforce that feeling of fear.
So if you spend a significant amount of time processing news reports, this will reinforce more reason to worry – creating a vicious cycle.
To help keep fear and panic at bay, try and limit the time spend checking news and social media. Additionally, if someone is sharing false information, try muting those posts to stop seeing updates.
Use Reliable Sources
There is a lot of information out there on the internet. And unfortunately, this can be overwhelming as fake facts and information is easily shared. Take an analytic approach when you follow news reports about the coronavirus.
Use reliable sources like the World Health Organisation. Verify information you share and receive from friends and family. Consume only what you need to and what’s relevant to you.
Create A Routine
With the closure of schools and workplaces, creating a routine at home can help to keep your mind at ease. Emulate your life before Covid-19 to the best of your ability. Follow the same routine on when you wake up, go to sleep and when you eat. Focus on things you can actually control.
While we tend to overload ourselves with information using social media, there’s no denying that it can be a valuable tool. Maintaining connections with friends and family can help foster a sense of normality. It can also give you an outlet to share your feelings and relieve stress.
You can maintain these connections without contracting the virus by chatting on the phone, making video calls or texting.
Many places like museums and galleries are offering virtual tours. You can also tune in to live streamed concerts and other events or play games with friends.
Keep Yourself Busy
With a lot of us losing our jobs and being stuck indoors, we suddenly have a lot of free time on our hands. Engaging in activities that distract you from current events can help reduce stress.
You can watch TV shows or movies. Why not use this time to pick up a new hobby like baking or DIY crafts.
Make Nutrition A Priority
Stress can spike cravings for comfort foods that are high in sugars and saturated fat. While the instant gratification seems appealing, these foods often give you an immediate high and subsequent crash. This can increase your stress, anxiety and fear levels.
When choosing to snack or what to make for dinner, go for foods that are high in proteins and potassium. These have been shown to help calm moods.
Acknowledge How You Feel
We can all agree that this is a scary time right now, but fear feeds off negative thoughts and emotions. Focus on the things you can control and reframe your thoughts to manage your emotions.
Writing down positive affirmations right before going to bed or waking up can be powerful in rewiring your mindset. And remember to wash your hands, practice social distancing and engage in self-care activities.
If you do need someone to talk to during this time, you can contact the Samaritans here.