woman at a therapist's office

How to Protect Your Mental Health Against a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic affected all areas of life. It brought down the worldwide economy to unprecedented GDP rates. It shut down schools or, at the very least, completely altered how they function. And, in general, it has made a lot of people miserable and on the verge of a mental breakdown. The worse part is that most mental health services have become inaccessible, too.

If you feel like you’re about to lose grip of your precious sanity, it’s about time to get yourself a little nudge in the right direction and become proactive. Keep in mind that just because there’s a global pandemic does not mean that you should allow your mental health to be compromised.

1. Stay connected with loved ones.

No matter how much of an introvert you are, this time calls for real connections. So do not hesitate to dial your loved ones’ numbers for a quick chat or a heartfelt conversation. Everybody needs a strong support system nowadays, and you are no exception.

Next time you receive a Zoom invite for a night of virtual partying, don’t think twice. Accept the invite and party like you’ve never partied before. Doing so should dial down your anxiety levels. We’re social animals after all, and we need comfort and reassurance from our tribe.

2. Pursue a new hobby.

You need all the distractions you can get. With news cycles replete with miserable accounts of the current state of things, you need ways to keep your mind off all the negativity Now, if Netflix no longer makes you chill out, it’s time to look for other sources of psychological diversion.

Why not try gardening? It’s believed to offer healing effects, most especially in terms of mental health. And we have no reason to doubt such a claim. If you’ve seen someone gardening before, you will agree that they look like some of the most Zen human beings on the face of the planet.

yoga by the mountains

3. Practice media blackout.

Our brains are wired to take in only a specific amount of information daily. In the case of information overload, our brain circuitry could malfunction. Think of a computer crashing because you’ve got countless tabs and apps opened at the same time.

It’s not normal that on a Monday you’re already made aware of the political atrocities happening in the Middle East, the COVID-related death toll in Brazil, and one of your high school friend’s baking failures and consequent emotional breakdown before breakfast. That’s the exact definition of information overload, and your brain’s not suited to deal with it.

Practice media blackout from time to time. And that includes social media. It might be hard, but you must do it for your sanity’s sake.

4. Subscribe to a healthy lifestyle.

This could not be stated enough. Our lifestyle affects our mental well-being. Practicing a healthy lifestyle is of the essence, especially in a mentally taxing time like now.

Eat well. Sleep right. And most importantly, devote enough time for exercise. You do not have to go to the gym to sweat out. You can follow home workout routines in the meantime. There are YouTube workout videos at your disposal.

5. Plan for the future

Your 2020 planner probably still looks pristine. That’s the case for everyone. But the sight of your unspoiled planner should not discourage you from planning for the future. The worse thing you could do to your mental well-being is depriving yourself of things to look forward to. Despite how seemingly hopeless today is, give yourself the gift of the future by making plans.

For instance, write down all the places you want to finally visit once all travel restrictions have been lifted. Or schedule your much overdue plan of getting dental implants. Or list down all the restaurants you wish to try once it’s safe to dine out.

Rest assured that we’re halfway through this catastrophe. COVID-19 vaccines are close to completion. Once they have passed all necessary safety tests, they will be rolled out to everyone. After the majority of the population has been vaccinated, things will return to the old normal.

We can again do the things we love to do. We can finally hug our loved ones. We can get rid of the masks and face shields that have encumbered our movements and lessened our comfort despite keeping us safe and protected. Those are on the horizon. But for now, you must do everything in your power to rise to the challenges brought by the current situation and ensure that your mental health does not suffer.

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