The world stopped when the lockdown was enforced during the COVID – 19 pandemic. Everyone was affected by the crisis and the most vulnerable are the people with mental health conditions, the older adults, and the children.
The COVID-19 outbreak is extremely dangerous to physical health. Aside from that, it brings a threat to mental health conditions. For instance, the fear of contracting and the spread of the virus can induce severe anxiety and stress to individuals.
This post will provide some tips in managing mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic for people with a mental health condition, and for the general population:
- For People with Mental Health Condition
Those with mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and substance abuse disorder are at risk for undesirable outcomes like extreme anxiety, deterioration of substance use, and some thoughts of suicide. To manage the mental health condition, here are the common tips to consider:
- Proper Intake of Medications
It’s important to continue the medication for people with a mental health condition as prescribed by the doctor. Make sure there’s a sufficient stock of medicines to sustain the treatment process.
- With Generalized Anxiety Disorder: The crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic can greatly affect the condition of patients with GAD. So, what is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)? It is a disorder indicated by persistent and uncontrolled worry in a lot of things. To prevent relapse in medications, GAD patients are advised to continue cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment and take proper medications.
- With Alcohol and Substance Abuse Disorder: Durig the COVID-19 outbreak, patients with this type of disorder tend to have increased feelings of fear and anxiety. The tendency to deteriorate from medication is also expected from them. It’s important that patients comply and continue with the treatment regimen to prevent undesirable results.
Further, regular stocking of medicines is also recommended and it’s best if there’s a continuous consultation with the doctor.
- Gaming and Gambling Disorder: Unconditional family support and continuous medication is the best way to assist patients with gambling disorder. You can ask and consult the therapist on the best methods of continuing therapy during confinement at home.
Maintain good communication with the people who care and call them for support when the mental health deteriorates. Of course, the unending support of the family members to the patient is one of the best tips to cope with mental health.
Moreover, it’s important to keep in touch with the counselor, or psychiatrist. Recently, the use of telemedicine as a form of communication with doctors and patients is the safest way for appointments.
- Changes in Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can help prevent the severity of stress and anxiety symptoms. Also, it provides a positive channel of distraction from negative thoughts and worries. Here are the recommended ways to consider:
- Maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle to ensure that patient gets enough time of sleep.
- Having a healthy diet and staying fit through regular exercise.
- Avoiding stimulants like drinks that contain caffeine.
- Including meditation like yoga in self-care activities.
- Take time to enjoy the music.
- Read your favorite book
The above tips can prevent additional stress and may improve the condition of patients. It’s imperative to seek the advice of the professional doctor or psychiatrist to avail of the trusted and safest prescriptions. The support of the family to the patient can be the most important assistance
- For General Population
Many were affected by the crisis like businesses, flight operations, and normal daily routines. It takes time to get used to the new realities like temporary unemployment, home-schooling kids, and the absence of physical contact with friends and other members of the family. It’s a challenge to adapt to the new lifestyle changes and managing the fear of contracting viruses.
To relieve stress and anxiety, here are the tips for managing mental health and taking care of yourself during this pandemic:
Keep Yourself Informed
Be updated with current events and listen to trusted news channels like local radio and television. Also, keep yourself posted with the advice and recommendations laid by the local and national authorities.
However, try to minimize watching or reading news that makes you feel stressed and worried. Look for significant information at particular times like twice a day.
Further, you can use social media accounts to encourage positive and inspiring messages and correct misinformation if needed.
Have A Routine
Keep the usual routine and incorporate new activities that make you happy. The process can help you manage stress. Here are some of the basic do-things:
- Waking up and going to bed similar times every day: This way can help you create a normal sleep-wake cycle. So, you’ll have a sufficient amount of sleep all day.
- Personal Hygiene: Taking a bath regularly and proper handwashing prevents yourself and your family from contracting with viruses.
- Keep Yourself Healthy: Do exercise regularly and eat healthy meals. One way of boosting the immune system is to set yourself physically fit and in good condition.
- Take A Rest: Allocate time for rest in every routine that you do. Always make way for things that you enjoy most.
Avoid Alcohol and Drug Use
Some people resort to alcohol and drugs to deal with fear, boredom, stress, anxiety, depression, and social isolation. The act of finding relief from alcohol is not good to alleviate such behavioral conditions. According to a study, alcohol use can increase the danger of mental health symptoms like stress, and anxiety.
While others think that drinking alcohol can prevent them from contracting from viruses. In fact, alcohol can cause harmful effects to the body like increasing the risk of infections and decreasing the immune system. Rather, having a healthy lifestyle can help increase the fight against COVID-19.
It’s important to regulate the use of alcohol and drugs to avoid weakness in the body’s immune system and the possible deterioration of mental health conditions. You can do other recreational activities like a movie marathon.
Watch Movies and Video Games
Watching your favorite movie or series and doing video games can give you a relaxed feeling. It’s also a good time to divert your attention from negative thoughts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Screen time is one of the best ways to bond with your kids.
However, limit the screen time. Take regular breaks and stick to the routine.
Extending support or help to people in your community can break the routine. Make sure to wear personal protective equipment like masks when you’re outside.
Furthermore, help can be extended online. Take the opportunity to thank the services of the health-care workers and other front-liners that respond to our needs.
The outbreak of COVID-19 produces social stigma and discrimination among others. People tend to discriminate against the possible transmission of infection. Yet, sometimes the expressed fear can offend others. Try to behave with these few tips to avoid conflict:
- Don’t discriminate against infected health workers: It’s right to support rather than curse them
- Don’t discriminate against the infected ones: Let’s be kind to others and help stop the spread of COVID-19
- Don’t discriminate against people that might have symptoms of COVID-19: The safest way is to protect ourselves from the virus.
Pay Attention to Your Children
During the pandemic, children tend to seek more of the parent’s attention. Here are some of the tips to avoid stress and enjoy the stay-at-home set up.
- Do the routines and let your child create new plays to bond with them.
- Explain the COVID-19 pandemic to the child in an honest and appropriate way.
- Support the children during the home-schooling.
- Help the child create and find positive ways to express themselves through playing and drawing.
- Let the children stay in contact with friends and family members through social media.
- Supervise the use of gadgets and online games and set time for a break.
- Be productive like baking a cake, write a poem, do the garden, and sing and dance with them.
Assist the Older Adults
The older adults can have the feeling of being isolated, agitated, and withdrawn during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s important to provide support and assistance to them. Here are some ways to help them:
- Help the adults keeping the communication with the family through telephone, online channels, and social media.
- Guide the adults with regular routines that make them enjoy.
- Join the adults in simple physical exercise to maintain mobility at home.
- Make sure there’s enough supply of regular medicines.
- Make sure the adults eat a healthy diet.
The tips provided are some of the ways to guard your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown enforced by the government must not stop your world. It’s more meaningful to bond and enjoy the quarantine with your family. The care and support for everyone can help improve the quality of life.
The COVID-19 outbreak brings challenging times to our physical and emotional health. The uncertainties and fear induce severe stress and anxiety to others. It’s relevant to find positive ways to cope with the challenges and divert the negative thoughts. The love and support of the family is the best way to manage mental health.