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Caring for Your Mental Health

  • March 2021
  • Number of views: 5541
  • Article rating: No rating

Sean McNamara
Technical Education Committee Member
Region 10 Director
Rutherford, New South Wales, Australia

The COVID pandemic has affected everyone on the planet at some point in some way, shape or form, including how to go about daily life. Activities we usually take for granted, such as going to a coffee shop, a restaurant, a football game or a holiday, have restrictions or are not happening at all. These changes can impact the mental health and well-being of everyone differently. Some people may seem more resilient than others, but we need to be aware of how this unique situation affects us, and how we can minimize the impact on ourselves, our family, our friends and our employees. 

There are many ways that people can manage their well-being. The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all facets of society. People must take a practical approach to handle the toll on mental health. 

Consider these methods to look after your mental health amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Try to maintain perspective. While it is reasonable for people to be concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts worldwide are working hard to contain the virus, treat those affected and develop and distribute vaccines as quickly as possible. 

Find a healthy balance with media coverage. Constant exposure to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. While it’s important to stay informed, you may find it useful to limit your media intake if it is upsetting you or your family. 

Keep moving. Exercise is great for physical health and can also have a positive effect on your well-being. Build your confidence with basic activities such as walking, gardening and small household tasks. Do what’s enjoyable to you. Spend some time with your family and involve them in the activities. Staying active is a proven method of achieving and maintaining good mental health. 

Try to minimize temptations. At times like this, some may indulge in alcohol and poor food choices more frequently. These decisions can also affect your mood. In conjunction with physical activity, ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet and enjoy everything in moderation. 

Try to maintain a practical and calm approach. Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits. Governments around the world have provided advice about maintaining positive mental health during the crisis. 

Try not to make assumptions. To contribute to a sense of community well-being, remember that the coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of nationality. Also, remember that those who have contracted COVID-19 have not done anything wrong. 

Check in on family, employees and friends. Everyone has handled this differently. Staying connected with friends and family is tricky right now, but you can still do so virtually. These regular check-ins will help increase others’ well-being and confidence, and you will feel good about it too! 

Seek support. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed. Identify strategies to cope with those feelings like:

  • Activating your support network.
  • Acknowledging feelings of distress.
  • Seeking professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

For those already managing a mental health issue, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms. 

Social contact and maintaining routines can help our mental health and well-being. In circumstances where this is not possible, staying connected with friends and family online or by phone can help make things easier. Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

Editor’s Note: This content is not intended to substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek your mental health professional or other qualified health providers’ advice with any questions you may have regarding your condition. If you are in crisis or think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. 

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