Our world is currently dealing with a lot of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s so much anger, sadness, depression and anxiety taking up space in people’s hearts. With the temporary dissipation of the fast-paced life, there is now room for all sorts of emotions, thoughts and memories to resurface. Some people aren’t ready to ‘sit and feel’ their emotions; some aren’t comfortable with expressing their feelings; some don’t even know what it is they’re feeling. People experience and express emotions very differently. And we need to remember that that’s alright.
Change is an essential component of life both in nature and in ourselves. However, sometimes, we are not ready for a sudden and drastic change. It takes courage to learn how to be flexible during such times. While this can be challenging, it is important for us to learn how to adapt in order to prevent this pressure from breaking us. Relationships are under a lot of pressure right now. So many couples are confined at home—some with their children; some stressed about working from home while trying to find a balance between personal space and family time and also trying to maintain financially security. Therefore, a lot of you may start demonstrating symptoms of anxiety and depression during this time. Despite trying your best, you can often find yourself struggling to concentrate on basic tasks, facing a reduction in your appetite and have difficulty sleeping. When these signs last for several days in a row, it is time to reach out for help, because just hoping symptoms of anxiety and depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms.
In order to get help one of the first things anyone who is struggling should do, is reach out to a friend or family member via phone or social media—even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings. If you have a primary caretaker and access to a mental health professional, you should also talk to them about your anxiety and/or depression and get some constructive advice and coping strategies from them. In order to reduce feelings of stress and helplessness, it is also important to take care of yourself physically. This involves sticking to a normal bedtime routine, engaging in plenty of physical activity at home, eating healthy, and setting time aside for yourself to relax and recharge.
You can also reduce your stress triggers by sticking to a daily routine. In addition to a bedtime schedule, you should also carve out specific time slots for eating, working, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. Staying busy is a distraction that can reduce the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression. Limiting exposure to news media can also be a good idea at this time, because the constant negative news about the virus can act as a huge trigger for anxiety and depression. Instead, choose to focus on the positive things in your life. Invest yourself in a new project and try starting each day by listing a number of things you are thankful for. Maintain a sense of hope, work to accept changes as they occur and try to keep problems in perspective.
It is also extremely important at this point to sort out your priorities. You can prevent overwhelming yourself by creating a set of achievable and reasonable goals each day and doing your best to complete them on time. Give yourself credit for every step in the right direction, no matter how small. And recognize that some days will be better than others. You can expect these strong negative feelings to fade once the COVID-19 crisis ends. However, continuing these self-care strategies and taking care of your mental health throughout your life can increase your ability to cope with life’s ongoing challenges.
Blogger: Pritha Banerjee
To read her blogs, visit (https://mindmusingsdotblog.wordpress.com)