If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the pandemic and the news around it, here are a few ways to calm yourself down
- The situation has made us all vulnerable to the illness, which, in turn, is bound to affect both the current and long-term
mental healthof people.
- Each one may feel a sense of emotional overload coupled with anger, hopelessness, helplessness, fear,
anxiety, and mental fatigue arising from constantly being on vigil.
- From healthcare workers to hotline volunteers to civil society, all are affected by the massive mental health impact of the pandemic. However, there are a few calculated steps one can maintain to manage their emotional wellness.
Life was almost back to normal when the pandemic's second wave hit India. It wasn't unexpected, but the scale at which it has impacted our lives and the realisation of how fragile we are is unfathomable. The situation has made us all vulnerable to the illness, which, in turn, is bound to affect both the current and long-term mental health of people.
Each one may feel a sense of emotional overload coupled with anger, hopelessness, helplessness, fear, anxiety, and mental fatigue arising from constantly being on vigil. Always looking over our shoulders without the power to control an outcome and to be prepared for the worse can be more exhausting than we can imagine. From healthcare workers to hotline volunteers to civil society, all are affected by the massive mental health impact of the pandemic.
However, there are a few calculated steps one can maintain to manage their emotional wellness.
1. Acceptance: Accepting one's emotional state means acknowledging one's human frailty. It helps validate our human experience and making room to express our emotional self with ease rather than questioning and fighting it. Remember, it's okay to feel whatever you're feeling.
2. Focus on what is in our control: We all are doing the best we can to cope, but the fear is real, often making us spin and have anxiety around situations that we may be unable to control. For example, worrying all the time about hospital beds or oxygen or how many people are being affected may lead to excessive anxiety. What you can focus on is your safety, making sure your medical papers are with you, who you can call for help, and so on.
3. Maintain a routine: Sticking to a plan for the day can help you focus on your daily tasks but remember to make room for flexibility if new developments need urgent attention. Have a sleep, wake up, work, meal and me-time routine. It helps one stay on track, have a purpose to a new day and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
4. Focus on your health: Maintain sleep hygiene, have an exercise regimen you can comfortably follow from home, and eat healthy, nutritious food. Focus on maintaining a decent screen time and not overdo or binge-watch every day. You can focus on board games, reading, writing or even start a new hobby.
5. Keep your in-group close: We're stuck at home, therefore keeping in touch with your loved ones and people you can talk your heart out to, is vital to maintaining a healthy perspective towards your life and being less stressed. Stay in touch with what you can call your in-group. They could be family, friends or relatives.
6. Limit News: Limit the time and sources of news consumption. This doesn't make you uninformed. In fact, it helps keep the news you get credible while also reducing the time you put into it. This includes social media engagement or WhatsApp time.
7. Your well-being is a priority: We're witness to how people are helping each other and can even go out of their way to serve. But it's a personal choice and depends upon what resources you can spare. Remember, your mental and emotional health is a resource for you, and you may not have the capacity to be there for people. And that's okay. If you're someone who is finding peace in your cocoon, you deserve it, and it is absolutely fine.
8. Choose who you spend time with: You may wish to help people, but some of them can make you feel miserable and lower your energy further, making it difficult for you to cope. You may choose to lessen your interaction with them. You can pick your pace over others', and there is nothing wrong with it.
9. Follow precautions: You know all precautions that must be followed to keep you safe. Make sure you're not callous. Nothing is worth the risk. A friend, relative, a parlour or office visit can wait.
10. Seek professional help: If you find yourself stuck in a loop of negative thoughts and are unable to cope, it is advisable to seek help from a psychologist or psychotherapist to help you learn skills to build a coping mechanism and resilience.
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