What COVID means for mental health
What we are living at the moment is not just a global crisis, it is something unprecedented in humankind. Our brain has not processed any similar experience in the past, neither directly nor indirectly, as we haven’t been told old stories with similar experiences by our grandparents. Thus, our brain has great difficulty in explaining and comprehending its recordings.
We are expected to change our behavioral habits, our everyday life, our way of working or learning, our communication and interaction with others, our hobbies and activities within a few days. But we are not prepared for this, we don’t have the appropriate education and, most of all, we don’t have the time to adjust to the new conditions.
We are suddenly being violently torn apart from our habits and daily routine and this will sooner or later make us face ourselves. Everything is happening while we are being told to socially distance ourselves from everyone, even family. This leaves us isolated and when feelings like fear, anxiety, sadness and anger kick in and are daily present the whole thing becomes very difficult to handle.
Feeling danger everyday, being anxious of getting exposed to the virus, facing a pandemic, social isolation, feeling defenceless and being afraid of death (ours, or of a loved one) all become an unbearable weight that affects us mentally.
At the same time, all sorts of questions come to our head and need an answer. How will I be after this? What will I do? How will I do it? But the real question is ‘Who will I be after this?’. The answer to this question includes all the other answers and it will help us prepare ourselves to be able to manage what is coming. But we need to act now, we need to answer this question. Now we have the time to think and evaluate ourselves, see what we have done and what we would like to have done, what we wanted and what we could do. What we would like to keep and what we will change. In other words, we need to change our perception on a number of things. If, for example, we understand that the current crisis doesn’t affect only us but everyone we take a first step against loneliness and feeling helpless.
Some other things which can help our mental health:
- Create a new daily routine.
- Don’t deviate from old habits when possible (food, sleep, etc).
- Take care of ourselves and others.
- Keep exercising as it helps our immune system
- Do creative things which can make you happy and satisfy you.
- Manage your stress (find exercises online that do so or get help from a professional).
- Get informed of the daily news from reliable media.
- Keep connecting with other people. Technology makes this easy nowadays.
- Share you feelings and your needs with others and listen to their feelings as well.
Don’t forget that we fundamentally have the ability to adjust more than any other living species on this planet. Let’s make use of this by finding ourselves and thinking about others too.
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