Any health crisis can generate stress and anxiety among the general public. That’s why after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the organization was quick to follow up with a list of mental health considerations for those affected by the pandemic.
While it’s essential to keep your physical health in check to avoid being a carrier of the virus and to protect your loved ones, it’s also crucial to learn how to manage your mental health. Here’s how you can support your psychological well-being during a pandemic:
Limit Your Daily News Intake
The constant stream of news reports, as well as rumors and fake news, can flood the Internet during a crisis. If the information you see on your social media feeds makes you more uneasy and adds to your distress, take a breather once in a while and go offline. Limit your daily news intake by committing to certain times of day for watching TV or checking your social feeds.
During a public health emergency, the poor and the elderly are more vulnerable to diseases. If the pandemic is causing these demographics to panic while you’re privileged enough to afford to keep your cool, the least you can do is to practice empathy and not judge them for panicking. Remember that just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not real.
Amplify Positive Stories
News reports during a pandemic might feature stories that lean toward the negative side. If you can, find opportunities to share positive stories about people who recovered and the sunny side of how people come together to #FlattenTheCurve.
Honor the Frontliners
Despite the lockdowns, travel bans, and quarantines, work does not stop for the health workers, caretakers, local government units, and other frontliners who go out of their way to save lives even when their own lives are at risk. Find time to acknowledge the role they play and honor their hard work by giving back.
Take Care of Your Basic Needs
Your physical and mental health go hand in hand. To manage your psychological well-being, you must first ensure that you’re eating nutritious foods, boosting your immune system, avoiding unhealthy habits, and getting enough rest. Take care of your basic needs first so that you can help others and be the light in these dark times.
When practicing social distancing and self-quarantine, one can feel isolated. Stay connected with your loved ones and friends to avoid feeling lonely or falling into a depressive episode if you have a history of mental illness.
Get the Support You Need
If everything becomes too much to handle, make sure to seek professional help immediately. You can consult a public or private practice that offers individualized mental health services. In Westport, you can find one that specializes in CBT, DBT, and trauma therapy. Seek treatment so that you can keep going. Lastly, keep your faith that this, too, shall pass.