The ABC’s of Mental Health Care – Taking Care of our mental health in a lockdown
Social distancing. Isolation. Quarantine. Lockdown. Pandemic. We seem to breathe these words these days as we are all in the epicenter of a global pandemic. Our physical health is at risk and we must abide by these rules to contain further spread of virus. However, while protecting ourselves from a pandemic, for some of us our mental health may be at bigger risks in this pandemic.
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Mental health concerns are on the rise because
- lockdown restricts movement resulting to lesser outdoor activities;
- social distancing impedes regular gatherings like support group meetings;
- isolation / quarantine gives the impression of being imprisoned;
- a pandemic of this proportion fuels stress and worrying.
Taking care of our mental health along with our physical health is equally important. And just like the virus doesn’t choose who its next victim is, similar is the risk for mental illness. The lockdown, the isolation, and the social distancing can lessen our chances of infection but may aggravate our symptoms of anxiety disorders, depression, substance use disorder, and other mental illnesses.
Whether you are in need of care or whether you are taking care of someone in need, this time of uncertainty affects us all. Each of us may react to this global pandemic differently but we are all in this together. We’re all facing this demon the best we can. Don’t let this physical lockdown give you a mental breakdown.
So, here’s the ABC’s of what we can do to take care of our mental health:
Feel what you are feeling, good or bad, happy or sad. Let them come but you have to make sure they are just visiting, so you have to let them go. These are your feelings, acknowledge them, go easy on them, go easy on yourself.
2. Break sweat:
Find out ways to work out even in confinement. Stretching, skipping, burpees, etc., are some forms of exercise you could do in your room. Any form of exercise can help release endorphins, and you need those happy hormones NOW.
3. Create a filter:
When you are scrolling your newsfeed, skip all news that will make you feel bad. Use your mental filter and block the pop-ups for now and live in your bubble for now. Surround yourself with what makes you happy because you are important.
4. Do it online:
Fortunately, social distancing does not apply to online platforms. You can stay in touch with your loved ones and your friends. You can even start online meetings if you used to attend any support group meetings or AA meetings. You can also look for online therapy options and seek consultations, all through your mobile or laptop. You need to take care of yourself. You must help YOU.
5. Exhale, inhale:
Deep breathing can do wonders no matter where you are and how you are. As you become aware of your breathing, you will be more mindful of things here and now (this could also be a great time to pick up meditation i.e. if you had been meaning to but never had the time). And whenever things start to look overwhelming, take a deep breath and take a break.
Whether you already are struggling with mental health issues or you may be at risk, you can still take control of the outcome. You are in control of what becomes of you, starting now.
Take control and take care!