With a global pandemic spreading, many of us are bound to be anxious and distressed. We are constantly engaged in a wealth of information through our phones, computers, and television sets. The news outlets that we read, watch, and listen to all seem to have something new and different to offer about COVID19. This surplus of information is overwhelming and can often lead to feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty. Now, more than ever, it is important to seek your information from trusted sources that will not mislead you. Below, read an adaptation from the WHO on how to effectively manage your mental health during this time of crisis.
Many news sources reporting on COVID19 offer only speculative information. It is crucial to rely on information sources like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the WHO, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to obtain the most trusted data on the disease, and the most effective ways to protect ourselves and those around us. In limiting our news exposure to credible sources only we will develop a more practical mind, allowing us to distinguish facts from rumors and minimize our fears.
Remaining psychologically sound requires effort. While some of us may have solutions for unwinding, there are those of us that still struggle to relax. Coping mechanisms such as sleep, exercise, healthy eating, and (remote) socialization can help to alleviate tension and clear the mind. We should attempt to not engage in harmful activities to our bodies, such as drinking, smoking, or using other drugs. Theses types of activities can hinder our mental health and physically worsen our well-being. If we are resilient, the positive strategies that we enforce on ourselves now will remain with us throughout the rest of our lives.
Many of us may be parents, siblings, or guardians of children. It may be especially difficult to cope with our own mental health during this time because we are trying to remain strong for our loved ones. There are ways to engage in emotional expression that will benefit us, and those younger than us. Engage in a creative activity. We can draw, dance, write, or play with our children and show them that it is okay to be expressive. Children will be more inclined to open up emotionally if they feel they are in a safe and supportive environment.
Children need some semblance of structure, which is why it is important to try and maintain our daily routines and schedules as much as possible. Structure is also important because children will look to us during troublesome times to observe our behaviors and emotions. We shouldn’t be afraid to address their concerns, and we should work to ease their anxieties in an age-appropriate manner.
For those of us in isolation, stay connected. We should try our best to communicate regularly with our loved ones and friends. Ultimately, we should reflect on our needs and feelings daily and find time for activities that embolden a healthy body and mind.
Stay safe, healthy and practical!
Adapted from: Mental Health And Psychosocial Considerations During The COVID-19 Outbreak. [ebook] World Health Organization, p.1-5. Available at: <https://www.who.int/publications-detail/mental-health-and-psychosocial-considerations-during-the-covid-19-outbreak>. 2020.