The COVID 19epidemic has affected all aspect of our lives. It has a potential to affect the mental health of all of us. It is common for people to be feel stressed and worried. People may be worried about falling ill or dying. They may also be worried about the well being of their family members. They be also be worried about the losing their livelihood. They may also suffer from hopelessness, powerlessness, loneliness and depression.
We should take the following steps to protect our mental health.
Limit the news and choose carefully what your read or watch
Getting continuous news about coronavirus may lead to anxiety, so we need to limit the news we receive. Limit the amount of time you spend on reading or watching things that don’t make you feel better. As there
is a lot of fake and unreliable news read news from trusted sites like WHO, CDC or government websites.
Have breaks from social media
Have breaks from social media. Log on to social media only once or twice a day. Stop following social media accounts or groups which make you anxious. Wash your hands but not excessively. You should
wash your hands at certain intervals for twenty seconds. Avoid washing hands ritualistically or repeatedly just to feel just right.
Stay connected with family and friends
If you are in self-isolation use video calls, phone and texts to remain connected with friends and family members.
Don’t use alcohol, smoking or drugs to cope with stress
Adopt healthy lifestyle
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Drink plenty of uids. Get some exercise. Get exposed to fresh air and sunlight as much as possible. Do something pleasurable. Read a book, watch your favorite movie, listen to your favorite song or watch a comedy show. Try yoga and meditation to calm yourself. Accept that some amount of anxiety is normal in such period. Remember that this epidemic will get worse and then pass off one day.
Take professional help if needed
Don’t hesitate to consult a psychiatrist if you suffer from severe distress or if you are persistently unable to sleep and eat.
Prepared by Dr Ranjan Thapafor Psychiatrists’ Association of Nepal