Covid-19 Outbreak: We Stay at Home but How Do We Protect Our Mental Health?

As we all know by now, the novel coronavirus known as Covid-19 is sweeping through the world. As a result, we mostly stay at home as a way of protection and to prevent the spread of the virus. In my previous article, I mentioned how detrimental it can be for people’s mental health to isolate them which was partly based on a novella. However, most of us are experiencing it at first hand nowadays and we know how hard it can be, yet there are ways to deal with it.

American Psychological Association lists some states of being that can emerge during this period and ways to cope. They claim that one might have or feel the following things: fear and anxiety, depression and boredom, anger, frustration or irritability and stigmatization. It is a well-known fact that human beings are scared of the unknown and as a result of uncertainty they might overprepare just like we nowadays see in the supermarkets. Psychologists call this “social contagion.” You go to the supermarket with a pre-prepared list; however, you see a frenzy of shopping there, you forget the list and go with the flow, yet this can create more stress. We have a part in our brain responsible for logical thinking a.k.a prefrontal cortex. I think we should try to consult that more when the chance to do so arises.

We are social beings which means that too much isolation may leave us feel depressed and/or bored. However, there are things we can do to lessen the effects of this. APA suggests we still try and keep virtually in touch with people, with loved ones, and use social media wisely to get the support we need. Now is the time to get in touch with people you wanted talk to, but you haven't been in contact with for a long time. Speaking of social media, they also warn people to limit exposure to news and social media, to be selective with news feeds so that they would not cause people to be more anxious than they already are.

Furthermore, it is also advised to have a daily routine which provides order in people’s lives despite the bigger disorder. It goes without saying that one should still try to lead a healthy life as much as one can, such as trying to exercise if able and eat well.

I would also like to mention few of my suggestions although they are not brand-new things, it doesn’t hurt to remind about them. First of all, you can try watching some of your favorite films again, but you can also give a chance to the ones you haven’t watched before. One of my personal favorite suggestions is that you can discover the hidden artist inside you and find out how therapeutic it can be to draw, paint - as you wish. You can turn your boredom into creativity by making your inner voice speak on blank pages; you can try to write fictional stories; you might be quite surprised at the result. A pretty classic but greatest of all suggestions -without doubt- is reading. You have many books on your reading list. Great! Now you have so much time to read them, to accompany you on lonely nights, to comfort you, to wish you good night with the tenderest of words.

 Dear reader, stay healthy and take care of yourself!

Reference: https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/social-distancing