Don’t Loose Your Mind During The Pandemic
Dealing With The Mental Side Of A Pandemic
We are in the midst of the first global pandemic since 1918. The Spanish Flu (which is believed to have actually originated on a military base in Kansas) tore across the globe for two years, infecting a quarter of the world’s population and ending 50 million lives.
We have not experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. This is a scary time and in scary times, it’s vital that you look after your mental health.
While everyone can agree (mostly) on the need for self-isolation and social distancing, it’s still a difficult pill to swallow.
Humans are social creatures so, for those who are locked away at home, only allowed out for essential shopping, being away from other people is difficult.
That lack of social contact is going to negatively influence your mental health, even if you’re an introvert.
Then, there is a lack of control and not knowing what will happen and how that influences your mental health. There isn’t just a single mental issue to focus on.
You will want to stay informed about what is going on, especially in your own area, but you also have to protect yourself.
For most people, the only reason to leave home is to work if you’re considered essential or to purchase essential supplies.
If you’re lucky, you will also be permitted out for one form of daily exercise. Even if you’re not living in a lockdown area, you will be dealing with the mental side of a pandemic.
- The first tip we can give you is to ensure you are only consuming information from reputable sources. False information is being spread all over the place.Not only will this put you at greater risk, but it also drums up more fear which will heavily influence your mental health.
- You might not be able to socialize as normal, but you can still maintain your social ties. In addition to using social media to keep in touch with friends and family, make use of video calls. If your mother normally comes over for dinner on Wednesday nights, then have a video call at dinner and enjoy it together. If you always meet your friend for coffee on Saturday afternoon, fire up a video chat and use the internet to your advantage. Why not dress up on Saturday night and enjoy cocktails with friends (over video chat). These are abnormal times, and your mental health needs you to think creatively.
- Do you know all those hobbies you don’t have time for? Now is the time to get to work! Get your knitting gear out from the back of the cupboard and tune up your guitar, this is your moment! Of course, we know from a variety of studies that making time for hobbies can help beat stress, which is the key to improving mental health (https://nopanic.org.uk/hobby-ideas-anxiety/).
- You will feel vulnerable during this pandemic, it’s okay to feel that way. You will feel anxious, that’s okay, too. It’s especially scary for people with existing mental health conditions or people with underlying health issues that make them high-risk. You might feel tempted to push these feelings away. Don’t give in to that temptation, you should acknowledge your feelings of anxiety and stress. The only way out is through.
- Finally, certain habits will increase your risk during a pandemic, namely drinking alcohol and smoking. While the mantra everything in moderation still stands, it’s important that you stick to it. Often, stress sends us over the edge, and we indulge in bad habits more – don’t give in to this temptation. Don’t drink to excess or increase your smoking habit, it will negatively impact your mental health and increase the risk of contracting the illness.
Overall it is extremely important to remember that your immune system is negatively affected by a negative outlook. As such stress can be a huge risk factor in your susceptibility to the virus.