If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed lately, you are not alone. Millions of people are going through the same emotional turmoil because of the second wave of COVID-19. The new and more aggressive variant of the coronavirus, which has a double mutation, has made India the second worst-hit country in the world. This being said, it is not the time to panic but to stay positive and take preventive measures like wearing masks and following the best hygiene practices. But before anything, the foremost requirement is to take care of your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The mind can cope better when an unpleasant circumstance is temporary, just like the pandemic felt when it started. But the second wave of COVID-19 has proven that the pandemic isn’t going anywhere. The only way to deal with this deadly obstacle is to stay healthy, not just physically but mentally as well.
In the fight against the pandemic, being positive and hopeful is vital. Here are a few simple things you can do to stay positive while facing the pandemic.
It is important to stay connected with family, friends, co-workers and peers, especially if you’re living alone. For example, checking in regularly with friends and family via social media, video calls, instant messaging or traditional phone calls can help you combat loneliness and keep negative thoughts at bay. According to Itai Danovitch, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, “In order to maintain good mental health over the long term, people should find ways to connect with loved ones, and importantly, find ways to be of service.”
Limit news consumption
The news we consume on a daily basis has a major impact on our thoughts, behaviour and emotions. Yes, gathering information during the pandemic is an excellent way to stay up-to-date and in control, but sitting in front of the television the whole day can adversely affect your mental health, causing stress and anxiety. Affirming its downside, Dr Aditi Nerurkar, a mind-body medicine physician at Harvard Medical School, says, “Think of it as an exercise. It’s good for you, right? But if you do it for hours on end, it becomes unhealthy.” So, set limits to how much news you consume on a daily basis, especially now.
It’s not hard to imagine how one’s mind can start spiralling out of control when confronted with the alarming news of the COVID-19 surge. With so many live cases and mounting deaths, anyone can grow anxious. In such trying times, incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine can help you stay positive and cope with anxiety.
Being mindful is exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially taking the time to focus on the present, and being aware of where you are and how you are feeling. There are plenty of mindfulness activities you can try including meditation, walking mindfully, eating mindfully and listening to music.
As the second wave of COVID-19 rages on, a regular exercise routine is possibly the best way to stay fit physically and mentally. Do what you can—take help from a friend or a fitness expert or check out videos online. Start small and set concrete goals. When you follow through with an exercise routine, however small, you take charge of your wellbeing and retain a sense of control during these uncertain times, thus helping you stay positive. Regular exercise can also strengthen your immune system, thereby making you less susceptible to infections.
Getting proper sleep, especially in times like this is imperative. It keeps your mind healthy and strong to fight unwanted thoughts and fears. Without it, you can become stressed, anxious and emotionally vulnerable. Getting adequate sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, mind and weight. According to a study, sleeping well can help you curb depression. Therefore, make a fixed sleep schedule a non-negotiable part of your routine during and after the pandemic.
Focus on what you can control
No matter how troubling the situation may seem, you can’t sit and overthink it. What you can do instead is focus on your wellbeing and take measures to protect yourself and those you care about. When you pay attention to the things within your control, your thoughts will empower you and trigger positive emotions. This way, you will be better equipped to deal with your fears and emotional challenges.