This pandemic situation is creating concern among mental health professionals about a potential wave of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and — especially — depression. The stresses associated with COVID-19 and social distancing are substantial, and may be long-lasting. But we are in this together for the long haul. And are those persistent, pervasive thoughts and emotions going through your mind and running around in your chest and stomach? It’s not just you. Everyone is experiencing some degree of worry and upset, and it’s not taboo to talk about those thoughts and feelings. Sindhu Nandakumar, Founder & consulting psychotherapist , Mindspa, an online counselling portal shares with us 10 tips to keep your mental health elevated and shred off common issues that could pop up issues during this pandemic.
10 tips to promote well being during this pandemic
1.Chart a daily routine for you
Charting a daily routine for yourself during this pandemic lock down and sticking to it whatsoever may happen. This helps you to ward off unwanted laziness from bundling up. Make sure you wake up and sleep at the right time. Sticking to a healthy routine makes your body clock work more efficiently. As you know proper sleep is the best way to keep your body and mind healthy.
2.Eat a healthy diet
By a healthy diet what I mean to say is not cutting off carbs or sticking to veggies, but following a balanced diet , eating at regular intervals and adding foods like fish oil , berries , dark chocolates , cardamom etc. which helps in the production of positivity promoting hormones. Now that you have some extra time, indulge in cooking new dishes if you wish to. This could help you develop cooking as your new hobby and make this pandemic isolation memories worthwhile . It would be even greater if you could bring in your other family members also to join you. The more the people, merrier the journey.
3. Exercise regularly
Even if we are forced to stay indoors, we should try to exercise regularly at-least for 30 minutes every day. It helps to strengthen our body’s immunity against diseases and makes us feel better. A simple walk outside into nature would make any one feel better and if you are enforced social distancing or stay outside you can always work out at the comfort of your home. Any physical activity that brings out sweat in you can be tagged under exercise, whether it be Zumba, hip hop, aerobics or dance. Enjoy what you do to work out and you will feel the happiness radiating through-out the day.
4. Exposure to sunlight
Sunlight exposure increases the brains release of a hormone called serotonin which is associated with boosting the mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Sunlight helps your skin produce vitamin D for longevity, bone immunity and brain function. Hence make sure to get sunlight exposure every day at least for 30-40 minutes. The advised time for sunlight exposure is during the late dawns and early dusk. Exposure to sunlight during the intense hours of the midday could lead to skin cancer and sun burns. You can always engage in outdoor activities if you have a backyard for sunlight exposure. If you are staying in an apartment reading a book in your balcony could help. If you don’t have a balcony you can sit near your window and get exposed to direct sunlight.
5. Stay connected
Many of us are separated from family, friends and loved ones, which might make us feel depressed and lonely. This right time to strengthen your connections with your loved ones through video calling, texting or voice messaging. You can even do group activities and virtual get-to-gathers through conference application like zoom, Google teams, etc.
6. Media distancing
It is indeed admirable to have all the latest information through media networks, yet the increased use of digital screens regarding the pandemic adds to the already existing uncertainty and panic about the virus and lockdown. Hence it is strongly recommended practice media distancing regarding news updates to avoid health anxiety, somatic complaints, depressive agitation and panic attacks.
7. Dust out your hobbies
There might things you wished you learnt a hobby you wanted to explore or an interest you wanted to track. This break from your usually rat race is the best time to catch up on your missed hobbies, learn a new skill or pursue an interest from bucket list. Many reputed organizations are offering there courses online free of charge.
8. Avoid substance abuse
Usage of drugs, cigarettes, and consumption of alcohol could lead to over usage or addiction. Hence, keep yourself at a safe distance form such abusive substance.
9. Stay hydrated
Remember to keep yourself hydrated at all times.Being sick can wreak havoc on our bodies. Coronavirus-like symptoms such as fever and coughing can rob us of out vital nutrients, especially if fluids and healthy foods are not consumed while sick. Our bodies are made up of 60% water which is why staying hydrated and re-hydrating is so important. Hydration is also key to regulating our core temperature, and dehydration can exacerbate an existing fever. small losses in body fluid can cause body temperatures to rise. The amount of water needed to stay hydrated has gone up from the typical 8 glasses a day that was typically recommended, “Our bodies need quite a bit of hydration every day. For women, 2.7 liters about 11 glasses of water. For men, about 3.7 liters, about 16 glasses.”
10. Listening to music
Listening to music, guided meditations listening to natural sounds like rain, sea waves and Zen music helps to bring down stress levels, aggression, panic attacks and anxiety. It helps you to promote healthier sleep patterns and stay focused when awake.
If you are a person already suffering from previous mental health problems you might find the pandemic yet more difficult in such a situation do not hesitate to seek professional medical help. If you know someone close to you are suffering and needs help, let’s provide social support to one another and complete this marathon together. If you feel you need a professional support don’t hesitate to connect with us through www.mindspa.org.in , An online counselling site. We are here to provide you support and solutions with you sitting at the comfort of your home.” says Sindhu Nandakumar, Consulting Psychotherapist @ mindspa specialised in NLP, CBT, REBT, Child counselling, Hypnotherapy, Regression, Inner child healing.