Managing stress and anxiety during COVID -19 pandemic

Sindhu Nandakumar , Founder & Consulting  psychotherapist of mindspa, an online counselling portal talks to VlogHD correspondent on  issues in mental health care and strategies to cope with stress or distress during the current outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic.

As the situation relating to COVID-19 unfolds, including news reports, travel restrictions, and concerns for your own and your loved ones’ health – people can experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and reactions. 
You or someone dear to you may experience periods of:

  • Feeling stressed or overwhelmed
  • Anxiety, worry, or fear
  • Sadness, tearfulness, and/or loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities
  • Physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, stomach upset, low energy, or other uncomfortable sensations
  • Frustration, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling helpless
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others, and/or fear of going to public spaces

In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, it’s understandable to feel stressed, anxious, or upset, among other emotional reactions. Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing them down in a journal, talking to others through phone, doing something creative, or practicing meditation.

Having a healthy routine  even when staying indoors can have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. This can include: eating healthy meals, physical exercise like walking or stretching, getting enough sleep, dancing , aerobics, zumba and doing things you enjoy like painting, listening to music, engaging in cooking, gardening, rearranging the house, taking care of pets etc.

Receiving support and care from others has a powerful effect on helping us cope with challenges. Spending time with supportive family and friends through phone , reconnecting with old friends through social media and  being active in chat groups can bring a sense of comfort and stability. Talking through our concerns, thoughts, and feelings with others can also help us find helpful ways of thinking about or dealing with a stressful situation.

It’s understandable to want to keep informed, especially if you or your loved ones are affected. At the same time, constantly reading, watching, or listening to upsetting media coverage can unnecessarily intensify worry and agitation. Take a break from news or social media, especially if there’s no new information. Finding credible sources you can trust is important to avoid the fear and panic that can be caused by misinformation. Focus on things that are positive in your life and actions you have control over.

Above all follow social distancing and prevention recommendations by qualified health authorities and government bodies. In case you feel the need to take expert advice, connect with us through www.mindspa.org.in. We are only happy to assist you. A trained professional  can help you identify the issues and support you, as you work through these problems, helping you find solutions and cope with the thoughts, feelings and behaviours, that are causing you problems. Mindspa wishes  global safety and a speedy recovery for all affected.

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