Mindful Minute: Mental Health Is Important

COVID-19 has shaken the world up, just as you would a snow globe. Lives have been impacted beyond what many can begin to fathom. The new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues take time to get used to.

Many are experiencing anxiety, fear, and distress. Staying physically safe from this virus is imperative by doing things such as social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a face mask. However, mental health during this pandemic is just as equally important. With all the unknown, and unanswered questions surrounding the virus, it is quite frankly, unsettling to say the least. Now, let’s be clear, everyone acts and reacts differently to stressful situations.

This still doesn’t change the fact that the major impact that has been brought on by COVID-19 is heavy!

One thing we do know, amongst all the uncertainty, is that with so many factors up in the air, its best we prepare for the long haul for the virus and its impact. Get yourself into a routine. Even if you’re not having to travel into work currently, and you’re able to telework, you should still have a routine. Get into the habit of waking up, and getting prepared for the day. This can help you focus on work.

Here are a few tips for maintaining your mental health.

  • Have a routine. Keep up with daily routines as far as possible, or make new ones.
    • Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.
    • Keep up with personal hygiene.
    • Eat healthy meals at regular times.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Allocate time for working and time for resting.
    • Make time for doing the things you enjoy.
  • Minimize newsfeeds. Try to reduce how much you watch, read, or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest information at specific times of the day, once or twice a day if needed.
  • Social contact is important. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.
  • Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink alcohol at all. Don’t start drinking alcohol if you have not drunk alcohol before. Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom, and social isolation.

There is no evidence of any protective effect of drinking alcohol for viral or other infections. In fact, the opposite is true as the harmful use of alcohol is associated with increased risk of infections and worse treatment outcomes.

And be aware that alcohol and drug use may prevent you from taking sufficient precautions to protect yourself again infection, such as compliance with hand hygiene.

  • Screen time. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
  • Video games. While video games can be a way to relax, it can be tempting to spend much more time on them than usual when at home for long periods. Be sure to keep the right balance with off-line activities in your daily routine.
  • Social media. Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Correct misinformation wherever you see it.
  • Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.
  • Support health workers. Take opportunities online or through your community to thank your country’s health-care workers and all those working to respond to COVID-19.