NEW DELHI,27.04.20-If there is one thing apart from the physical illness that COVID-19 has affected, it is mental health. Due to the severity of the virus and how quickly it spreads, more and more countries are following suit and opting for a period of isolation. It is a necessary action, but it is also one that is in direct conflict with a human’s need for social interaction and freedom. Although there are constantly people around in a family, it is still an unnatural gathering, seeing that it is forced. People who live alone are on the other side of the spectrum and can experience loneliness at times.

Whether you live alone or with other people, staying mentally healthy during this time is equally important as staying physically healthy. Prevention is better than cure and reading the signs is going to be imperative if you are to stay mentally healthy during this time of isolation. In some cases, it will require a person to remove him or herself from a situation, but seeing that everyone is in such close proximity within a household, this can become a difficult task.Mental health is an overarching concept that includes all manner of mental disorders that affects a person’s mood, thinking and behavior. There are obvious scales of severity which range from mild depression or stress to schizophrenia or dementia. Although a period of lockdown will not necessarily bring about the onset of some serious mental health issue, it can make the time spent in isolation an unnecessarily unpleasant one.If you live with a family, this could cause serious damage to relationships as those around you are on the front line of attack from you. Before this happens, you need to take some time each day and evaluate your behavior and try and look at it from the other person’s perspective.

Here are some tips to stay mentally healthy during COVID-19:

  1. 1. Be open to criticism- This is a time of vulnerability and honesty and you need to be open to the criticism from your family and friends and not try and justify your actions. This is a difficult task as it is never easy to do a self-evaluation and come to realize that the people around you are right. If you take the criticism, it could be the perfect opportunity for you to change bad habits and make a change for the better in your life.
  2. 2. Identify triggers and develop strategies- Apart from the feedback from friends and family, the triggers can be identified as unusual behavior like sudden bursts of rage, irritability, feelings of apathy, anxiety and stress. Once you have identified the areas where you are most vulnerable and would potentially lead to a breakdown of your mental health, you need to develop strategies to circumvent the situation.
  3. 3. Avoid news overload, use social media to connect with friends and family- Refrain from watching excessive news and social media related to the pandemic. It adds to panic and leads to anxiety which is unhealthy after a certain level. Some of it is normal and keeps us going and motivated.People who live alone have to use the technology that is available to them to socialize and keep in touch with the outside world. This is paramount to their mental health, seeing that we are social creatures. Although social media is no substitute for real-life contact, it is the best alternative and will keep you from feeling disconnected.

  1. 4. Retreat-Retreat is often the best course of action and in a house-hold, one’s room is the best place to return to a healthy state of mind. It might require you to confront a person or doing some indoor workout. Every person and situation is different and you will be the best judge as to how to maintain your mental health.
  2. 5. Keep in touch- The one thing that everyone can be sure of is that no one is alone in this. Everyone is going through the same struggles and the more we can rely on each other and keep in touch, the more we will grow and come out stronger on the other side.

Apart from these people can meditate, do yoga and exercises at home, do online courses, take up new hobbies and explore your skills (paint, cook, dance, craft etc as per choice), play with children, keep moving and much more to stay occupied and enjoy as well.


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DR.SARIKA BOORA

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