Nurturing Mental Health Amidst COVID - 19
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
The 2020 Pandemic, consisting of the tiny predator known as The Corona virus has struck the waves of emotions worldwide. The threat of death, decline in job opportunities and implementation of the lockdown have sprouted feelings of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, panic, stress, loneliness and boredom. Due to this sudden outbreak, many of us have lost connection with the peaceful part of us. It is important that we rejuvenate that spark of hope, positivity and happiness in ourselves in such times.
Following are some ways to look after our mental health during this tough period:
1) Keeping a Thought Diary
A thought diary i.e. Journaling has been scientifically proven to be one of the remedial cures for anxiety, stress and depression. Journaling, also known as “Writing therapy” aids in calming the mind by putting away the intrusive thoughts so as to let more clarity to seep in. It helps in releasing the pent up feelings, brings in more self awareness and boosts the mood. Expressive writing for only 15 to 20 minutes a day can help in comprehension and management of the situation in a better way.
2) Resuming social connection
The lockdown has abstained us from social meetings/gatherings, yet we can still interact through social media platforms. Connecting with our loved ones virtually, through texts, audio calls or video calls can fill us with hope and positivity. Sharing our feelings with someone who listens makes us feel heard, validated and supported which leaves us with a pleasant feeling.
3) Taking optimum sleep and enjoying healthy food
Taking an abundant amount of sleep (6-8 hours) along with consuming healthy diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables(green leaves), fruits, nuts(along with almonds), seeds and abundant amount of drinking water is the secret to good mental health.
4) Working out
Exercise / stretch / workout. Clinical studies show that regular exercising produces chemicals called dopamine and serotonin which are as effective as anti-depressant medicines. It is not mandatory to work out at a gym for producing these chemicals. 5 to 10 minutes daily stretching exercises along with 10 minutes of walk can do the same wonders to the brain as happen to a person in the gym.
5) Meditation and Breath work
Meditation and deep breathing exercises improve the cognitive functions of the brain, encourage positive thoughts and reduce anxiety. Practicing daily breathing exercises can boost the overall mental health. Another effective meditation type is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. It is a practice of slowing down and paying attention to our surrounding environment using all our 5 senses. Examples of mindfulness are taking a mindful shower, drawing/painting, washing the dishes or anything that can make us focus our attention to the present. Practicing mindfulness reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
6) Making our rooms more stimulating
Reorganizing our rooms by making them more psychologically stimulating and welcoming can also aid our mental health. De-cluttering the room, rearranging furniture, getting house plants (reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure), using green color for furniture/wall (green has the most soothing and refreshing effect), reminding yourself who you are (putting photos of family and friends is very grounding), aromatherapy and having abundant light (windows) in the room (Vitamin D) can help us cope with our mental health.
By Ms. Vidhi Chanpura
She is a nature enthusiast pursuing her second year in Psychology Majors. She is fascinated by the mysteries and magics of the mind and is keen to connect with people about it through her write ups.
Rees, V. (2020). How to take care of your mental health during COVID-19 Pandemic. Referred from https://www.europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com/news/116095/how-to-take-care-of-your-mental-health-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
Sarkis, S. A (2020). Discover 8 Journaling techniques for better mental health. Referred from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/202001/discover-8-journaling-techniques-