It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are ways that you can help yourself, others, and your community manage stress.
Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
Take care of your body.
Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when available.
Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.
Create a new, adapted schedule taking cancellations into account.
Keep things as consistent as possible and focus on what you can control in terms of disease prevention and more broadly.
Do a "worry drop:
Write out all of your fears in a journal until your anxiety has dropped by half. Make a daily list of what is going well, and remember the things that are going well. Despite the current situation, maybe you’re able spend more time with your kids, or reading a book you’ve been meaning to get to or learning how to cook.
Ask for help:
The importance of reaching out when you feel overwhelmed cannot be overstated. While it is natural and common to feel a certain amount of alienation and stress, if these emotions persist, despite your efforts, talk to a trusted family member or friend. If your mental state worsens, contact a mental health professional or doctor.
Handling emotional problems
1. At times of anxiety, practice breathing slowly for a few minutes. Try and distance the thoughts that are making you anxious. Think of something calm and serene, and slow down your mind.
2. When feeling angry and irritated, calming your mind, counting back from 10 to 1, distracting yourself helps.
3. Even when feeling afraid, deal with it by asking yourself: a. What is under my control?
b. Am I unnecessarily worrying about the worst thing that can happen?
c. When I have been stressed in the past, how have I managed?
d. What are the things I can do to help myself and be positive?
4. Feeling lonely or sad is also quite common. Stay connected with others. Communication can help you to connect with family and friends. Call up people whom you haven’t spoken to and surprise them. Discuss happy events, common interests, exchange cooking tips, share music. 5. If any of these emotions persist continuously for several days, despite your trying to get out of it, talk about it with someone. If the feelings worsen, a person may feel helpless, hopeless and feel that life is not worth living. If that happens, call out for advice from a mental health professional or contact your doctor / mental health professional.
Helping Others Cope:
Taking care of yourself can better equip you to take care of others. During times of social distancing, it is especially important to stay connected with your friends and family. Helping others cope with stress through phone calls or video chats can help you and your loved ones feel less lonely or isolated.
What is NOT advisable
1. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Use of tobacco or alcohol or other drugs to cope with emotions or boredom can worsen physical, mental health and reduce immunity. People who already have a substance use problem may require professional help, especially when they feel low in mood or stressed.
2. Do not shun or judge people with a Covid infection. While you need to maintain a physical distance and keep yourself safe to prevent such infection, remember they need care and concern. If you know someone who might have the infection, tell them about precautions, and how to get medical assistance, if required.
3. If you happen to get infected with Corona, remember most people get better. Do not panic. Practice self-isolation and take medications that are advised.
Emotional issues after recovery, (this is very important)
1. While it is wonderful to recover from Covid infection, you may actually face stress after you have recovered and wish to get back into the community. You may have fear about your loved ones falling ill.
2. People who do not understand the illness well may actually keep you at a distance, which is also very stressful and isolating.
3. You may experience feelings of guilt that you were not able to work or care for others. This may lead to feelings of depression, helplessness or frustration.
4. Use the ways mentioned earlier to deal with these feelings. Share your positive story that it is possible to recover from COVID infection.
Remember, good mental status in the difficult times may win you the battle more easily