How To Manage Mental And Emotional Wellness This Pandemic?
5 min read
Parents are one of the groups that are specifically affected by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We may not admit it, but many of us had increased anxiety levels, and maybe some of us are experiencing depression. Based on research by KFF, 4 out of 10 Americans have reported symptoms of depressive or anxiety disorder. They also had a health tracking poll on July 2020, wherein adults had reported specific symptoms like difficulty in sleeping, eating disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, and some had worsening health conditions.
We may feel lonely at times, especially when we got our hands full working from home, doing house chores, and taking care of our kids. We worry about financial matters, our kids, our health, and how to cope up with the new norm. We need to know how to adapt to these stressors so we can take care of our mental health. Here are some helpful tips to manage your mental and emotional wellness.
Connect and communicate
Although we do not see our family and friends more often; we still need to nurture our relationships with them. This is important for an individual's mental health. Not talking to anyone for months may cause anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Meeting in person, social gatherings, visiting your friend's home may not seem advisable for now, but we can still communicate with them through technology. You can phone a friend or facetime a family member and ask how they are doing. A simple phone call can mean so much to someone during these trying times. It can make both parties feel a sense of belongingness and that they are not alone. Communication between family and peers can also help maintain good relationship. Being kind and showing that you care for each other is what we need nowadays.
If you feel lonely or depressed:
Talk to a family member, a friend, a health practitioner, or a counselor, wherein you can safely share your feelings, worries, and concerns.
You can join groups and communities that center on your favorite hobbies or something that you enjoy.
If it's safe to take a walk outside and away from crowds, you can do so. Walking gets you a breath of fresh air and exposure to sunlight. Sunlight doesn't only give you Vitamin D; its natural light makes you feel happy. Let walking improve your mood and remove your worries.
Due to restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19, we are requested to stay at home most times. This means not being able to go to the gym nor do your jogging and walking routines. Physical activities may have been limited since we are staying indoors, but we should at least try as they are essential to our mental health. Regular exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. It aids in boosting self-esteem and alleviates social withdrawal.
You can do simple exercises anywhere at home. Squats, push-ups and other exercises can go a long way and will have positive effects both on your physical and mental health. Learn more about Physical Activity and many more from our previous blog, "How To Keep Yourself Healthy During Covid-19 Pandemic?"
Learn to relax and meditate
Worrying and thinking about a lot of things this pandemic doesn't do you any good. One way to make it healthy and to combat stressors is to relax and meditate. Don't know how to relax? Here are some techniques you can do at home:
Breathing Exercises - Focusing on your breathing can make you calm and relax. Experts recommend the 4-7-8 deep breathing interval. Inhale for 4 seconds. Hold it for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
Mindfulness Meditation - Mindfulness meditation is about being focus on what's happening at the moment. Find a quiet place at home. Focus on your breathing, the rise and fall of your chest. Some people count their breathing so they can take their minds off from distractions. A daily practice of 10 minutes/day will do, but the recommended duration is 20 minutes twice a day for utmost benefit. Mindfulness meditation can help you feel better, improve your sleep, lower blood pressure, chronic pain, and gastrointestinal problems. Psychotherapists also use this method to treat depression, eating disorders, substance- abuse, couples therapy, and those with obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders.
Music Therapy - As ABBA says in their song, who can live without it? Music can help decrease anxiety, pain, and stress. It stimulates our mind, makes us think, feel emotions, learn and motivate. It simply changes and improves our mood. We can be inspired when listening to music; it comforts us and makes us feel calm and relax. You can listen to songs that make you want to dance, sing, smile, cry, or be sleepy. You can search for relaxation songs that are available on Spotify or iTunes.
Limit News and Social Media
Find balance on being informed versus taking a break from the news. We do not want to absorb the negativity of the pandemic all day; it is best to limit the news and watch it in the morning or the evening instead.
As for social media, we understand that you want to be updated on the latest trends and interact with your friends. However, social media isn't really social; it's an empty exchange. It also sets us apart from reality. Take a break from it and have actual/ virtual conversations with family and friends. Spending more time on social media may also lower your self-esteem and increase your anxiety.
Seeing everybody's success is great. Although we intend to be happy for them, there's a part of us that feels down as we question what milestones we have achieved. Also, another negative effect is, it makes us compare ourselves with impractical, unrealistic images, which may result in discontent and self-doubt. Our goal is to have a healthy mind, so it is best to limit ourselves from the things that may distract and affect us emotionally.
Read the old-fashioned way
In this day and age, most of us read novels and articles from eBooks and the Internet. We just carry around a tablet and access them wherever we are. But is reading online enough to help improve our mental health?
According to research, reading from a paper or a book is better than reading from a device. Reading the old-fashioned way can make our memory active and increase comprehension and retention. Reading 6 minutes a day can also strengthen your brain's neurons and pathways. It also has fewer distractions than reading from a screen, you will be able to concentrate as there are no ads or tabs that may distract you.
Choose books that interest you. Once you make it a habit, you will notice changes in your mood and sleep. Reading an actual book helps you slow down and somehow makes you feel present and connected with the story. It is a simple escape from overthinking and anxiety. Reading a book will not only entertain you, but it will also help relax and calm your mind.
Do what you enjoy
Doing what you love helps lower anxiety and stress. Think about the things that you enjoy. It can be an old hobby, a show, or a series. People doing the things they love are happier and less likely to feel anxious and stressed. Have a healthy mind by being kind to yourself and by doing the things that make you happy.
Caring for your mental health is important. It influences how we think, act, and feel. It is essential in every stage of our lives as it can help us make decisions, approach challenges, and handle stress. A healthy mind enables us to be productive, contribute to our community, and helps us reach our full potential. It also aids us in communicating and building relationships with others. Taking care of our physical and mental wellness should always be our priority. This will help us cope with the new normal and prepare us in facing life's challenges.