Health & FitnessLifestyle 22.06.2020

Mental health & Covid 19

BY Rabiya Mumtaz

With the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly around us, the human race has had to absorb a lot of lifestyle changes without a warning. Working from home, home schooling, losing jobs, loss of human contact and change of routines can all take a toll and be unsettling to say the least. Many of us have found it challenging to cope with these circumstances. The perceived certainty and stability of everyday life has changed overnight for some of us. Many of us have had irrepairable losses. Such stark and unforeseen changes can evoke feelings of fear and instability which may lead to depression and anxiety.

While we can’t resist the circumstances, we can only try our best to cope. There are a lot of little things we can involve in our day that can have a big impact on us. In my personal experience the following have really helped.

To keep a routine – to wake up and go to bed at a certain time, and to be productive during my day has been a real support for me. I don’t need to conquer the world to be productive, but just accomplish a few basic tasks can be helpful to myself and my family.

To keep informed – Knowing all the necessary SOPs about dealing with Covid 19 has helped me to protect myself better. However, I did realize keeping a boundary with the information was necessary as there was a bombardment of information on the news, group chats and other social media. I had to make a conscious effort to filter it. I was also aware that there is only so much I can do and I try to accept my limitations.

Exercise – Exercise releases the feel good hormones and this is when we need them the most. If your regular gym is unavailable then a home work out on zoom may work for you. Social media is really helpful with that in these times and so many people have come forward offering free online classes open to all.

Staying connected – Although we cannot socialize like before, we can still socialize with social distancing and through social media. We must remember just because we can’t meet our friends doesn’t mean they can’t be there for us, so REACH OUT if you need to! Call your bestie, your mom, your neighbour or your therapist! (Most therapists are offering online sessions.) If you have family with you then it is a good time to do things together that are involving, like board games or simply, just talking.

Meditate – the sense of impending doom is with all of us and this means we are all in it together at a global level. Meditation helps to bring us into the present moment and helps us to put aside our fears of the worst for a while. Thus meditation can be liberating for us for that moment and for some, it can help to set the mood for the day.

Accept and process your emotions – Remember, fear is a very normal reaction in such times, so allow yourself to feel it, as only then will you be able to deal with it in a healthy way. Fear needs to be recognized and embraced so it doesn’t lead to paranoia.

Helping or caring for others – When we help or care for others, we interconnect and that helps us to not feel isolated. Care can be extended from a distance too, simply with a phone call to check up on the other or however you may choose. Elders and mothers of little children may need help in terms of chores and if you’re in a position to do it without putting yourself at risk, go ahead.

Staying present – While my fears are always there I can choose to be grateful for what is working for me. In this moment I am healthy and I am grateful for it.

Kindness – this is a good time to practice kindness as a lot of us are on edge and could use that little support from each other. Even a prayer is a form of kindness.

Self Care – if you have a health condition, (mental or physical) make sure you don’t skip your medication and have ample supply of your regular medication.