COVID-19 is a disease caused by the new coronavirus. It mainly attacks the lungs of the infected and can cause complications for those with pre-existing conditions.
However, our physical body is not the only one at risk amidst the global pandemic. Our mental is also prone to suffer.
The new normal can be triggering.
Change always comes with uncertainty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed what we consider as “normal life”. We are all forced to adjust to the new reality presented upon us, and with our economy falling apart and a continuous rise in death tolls in many countries, it can be terrifying to think about what the future has in store for us.
Everyone is expected to be afraid. But for those who were already battling with anxieties and other mental issues like OCD and claustrophobia, it can be extra triggering.
That is why it is equally important to take care of your mental well-being as much as your body. While you’re staying indoors, staying clean, practicing social distancing, eating nutritious food, you should also take note of these coping strategies so you’d know what to do when things get overwhelming.
Reduce your news intake.
Even before the pandemic crisis, everyone has been at risk of information overload. We are in the digital age, and billions of data await you once you turn on your smartphones. Now that the time we spend on social media has dramatically increased due to enhanced community quarantine, we’re more vulnerable to information overload more than ever.
We tend to feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness when we are on the receiving end of a constant stream of bad news. Sure, it’s important to stay informed, but information overload can be a source of stress, as it has been found to trigger ‘cortisol’ a.k.a. the “Stress Hormone.” It can make your feel out of control of your situation and put you in a state of unresolved anxieties.
There’s a term created for it. Infobesity. When infobesity starts to take its toll on your daily life, the right thing to do is go on a diet. Unfollow pages and people who fill your feed with negativity. Limit your time on social media. Your brain processes what you feed it with. Choose the types of content that make you feel good instead of giving you reasons to panic.
Get some air and sunlight.
Cabin fever has some anxiety-inducing side effects. When your heart starts pounding over the idea of being trapped in an uncertain situation, you should try to get as much air and sunlight in your house as possible. Open your windows. If you have a back garden, make the most of it. Don’t forget that it’s summertime. We’ll be having a decent amount of sun in the next weeks to come.
Do breathing exercises.
Inhale deeply and through your nose for five seconds, hold in the air in your lungs for another five seconds, and exhale through the mouth for five seconds. Repeat this pattern again and again until you feel loosened up. You can also try the 4-7-8 technique by just replacing the number of seconds with 4, 7, and 8 correspondingly. Breathing techniques are effective ways of slowing down your heart rate and calming a stressed-out mind.
It is normal to feel scared of what’s happening. It is also normal to let these feelings out. Whether you’re quarantined with your family, friends, significant other, or you’re all by yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to your people when having bouts of lockdown anxieties. Open up about your fears and let them know how you’ve been coping with the pandemic crisis.
Even when you feel at peace, it’s important to stay connected to the ones you know you could unload your feelings to. At some point during these trying times, we may start having bouts of loneliness. It would serve as a huge help to surround yourself with people you love.
Get professional help.
Whether you’re a frontliner, a backliner, or a regular citizen self-isolating at home, we are all vulnerable to the stress and anxiety brought by COVID-19. When it all gets too much for your mental health, these are some hotlines you can contact for professional aid.
Philippine Mental Health Association- 0917-565-2036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Center for Mental Health- 0917-899-8727 or (02)8989-8727
Hopeline PH- 0918-873-4673 or 0917-558-4673. You may also dial (02)8804-4673.
Youth for Mental Health Coalition, Inc.- it’s an online-based community that you can go to if you’re not up for a one-on-one conversation. You can check out their Facebook group here.
How are you coping with the lockdown?