Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Coronavirus, a pandemic that has had everyone scared across the globe has the potential to become a big stressor for those having mental health concerns. The world’s healthcare community is working round the clock to contain the spread of this virus and we would like to address the people whose mental health is affected by this pandemic.
There is a man who has overcome and managed to deal with his intrusive thoughts about germs and compulsion to wash his hands who is now triggered by the non stop news on this virus. There is a possibility, a woman who is dealing with illness anxiety feels panic brewing and rising up in the form of a panic attack owing to the scare around coronavirus. There might also be another individual dealing with his agoraphobia feeling even more unsafe in his surroundings owing to the complete lockdown of some places. There is a student concerned about her aging parents catching the disease which is triggering her to keep her hands and face clean at all times. There might be others whose general concerns over health, cleanliness, and germs may be increasing to uncontrollable levels.
So how can we help ourselves in such times? We bring you some practices you can adopt to help ease the mental health burden of COVID-19.
The first and foremost is to follow preventive measures, as instructed. Coronavirus is likely to spread across different parts of the world, whether its threat is high or low in your surroundings it is important to follow precautionary measures provided by the government and WHO.
The second is to be empathetic to all those around you. It is likely someone’s anxiety might be triggered during these times, for someone else it might be continuously brewing, some are worried about their family and friends stuck in different areas, so it is important to be understanding and to be there for each other. It helps to be mindful of others' anxiety as our words or actions can be a trigger for someone else.
For those of us who are feeling re-triggered or are noticing their anxiety increasing, resist the urge to keep checking the news warnings incessantly. It helps to limit intake of virus related information to a few minutes or hours a day rather than continuously exposing yourself to the same news updates.
While you are watching the news, only focus on the facts and keep reminding your anxious brain of them. Stay away from misinformation and hyped news. Educate yourself with responsible information only.
Another hack for these troubling times is to reach out to your therapist and use the therapy session to rebuild healthy coping mechanisms you have learnt or even can learn afresh, to deal with the extreme anxiety that might be brewing for you.
Next is to identify and reach out to your support system. It helps to connect with your close ones even if just online, where you can safely express your concerns and feel heard. This will go a long way in combating the isolation you might be experiencing in your thoughts and surroundings.
Lastly, seek out and amplify positive stories of those who have recovered from this disease. Sharing stories of hope and recovery can go a long way in neutralising the anxious thoughts and feelings you might be dealing with.
And don’t forget to share this information with anyone you think needs help.
Important links on COVID-19:-
Emergency numbers (GoI)
We are available at firstname.lastname@example.org