As news about COVID-19 dominates the headlines and as public concern continues to rise, Zynotek Health would like to remind you that aside from taking care of your physical health, taking care of your mental health is important too.
In this article, we discuss the different signs that you are becoming overwhelmed and what you can do to maintain good mental health amidst all the anxiety and fear that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought.
Signs That You Are Becoming Overwhelmed
Here are some signs that you may be overwhelmed with all of the challenges and difficulties that this pandemic is causing.
- Your mind is constantly being preoccupied by stressful events (i.e. how the COVID-19 virus is affecting your life).
- You find it difficult to concentrate and/or stay focused on work.
- You are becoming more sensitive towards information or news regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
- You are having trouble falling asleep or you feel restless.
- You are constantly checking news sources or social media for information.
If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to take some measures to protect your mental health.
Tips to Maintain Good Mental Health
Below, we share some helpful tips to help you maintain good mental health amidst all of the anxiety, confusion, and fear that this pandemic has brought.
- Look for credible and accurate information from trusted sources.
When it comes to reading updates about the COVID-19 outbreak, make sure to seek accurate information from official sources. Some official sources that you can tap into include the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or reliable national sources like the Philippine Department of Health. These credible sources of information are important to avoid the panic and fear that misinformation may cause.
- Look after yourself.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, self-care includes focusing on things that you can control (i.e. proper handwashing and good hygiene) instead of those that are beyond your control (stopping the virus). Where possible, continue to perform your normal activities and maintain your daily routine. Eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and do things that you enjoy. Also, create a routine that prioritizes your physical well-being and mental health. Activities like meditating, reading a book, or listening to soothing music can help you relax and will have a positive impact on your feelings and thoughts.
For health care workers, it is particularly important for you to take care of your basic needs. Make sure that you get enough rest between shifts even as you are swamped with overtime hours or work overload in the midst of this pandemic.
- Avoid excessive exposure to COVID-19 news.
While it is good to be informed, try to avoid excessive exposure to news coverage regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Constantly monitoring the news, updates, and social media posts regarding COVID-19 can take its toll on your mental health – it can intensify feelings of distress, fear, and worry. Consider turning off automatic news notifications and take a break from social media. Take a break from watching the news or listening to radio reports.
Limiting how much news you watch or read will allow you to focus on your life and actions over which you have control, instead of constantly wondering about the “what ifs?”
- Reach out to your loved ones and support the people around you.
Keeping in touch with your family and friends may help ease the stress and fear caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Talking about your feelings and concerns may help you find ways of effectively dealing with the challenges that you are facing. Moreover, receiving care and support from others can bring a sense of stability and comfort. Also, assisting others in their time of need and reaching out to someone who is feeling alone can benefit both the person receiving support, as well as the helper.
Even with the community lockdowns and quarantines, you can still stay in touch with your loved ones through social media, video conferences, emails, and phone calls. In today’s highly technological world, remember that there are many ways to regularly connect with others digitally.
- Take the time to talk to your children about the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you have children, take the time to talk to them. During this difficult time, remember that it is just as important to help children cope with stress and protect them from any COVID-19 hysteria. Explain the situation and answer their questions in a way that they can understand. Respond to their reactions in a supportive, calm way. Listen to their concerns and give them extra attention, care, and support.
Reassure your children that they are safe. However, do let them know that it’s okay if they feel upset and scared. Share with them how you deal with your own anxieties and stress so that they can learn how to cope with you.
- Acknowledge your feelings.
During these trying times, it is normal to feel distressed, anxious, or overwhelmed among other emotional reactions. Give yourself time to notice, acknowledge, and express what you are feeling. You can do this by talking to someone you trust, practicing meditation, or writing them down in a journal.
By acknowledging your feelings, you can help ease some of the worries you are feeling and achieve better mental health.
- Try to stay positive and hopeful.
It may be difficult, but try to stay positive and hopeful. Focus on the positive things that are happening in your life or in the lives of other people. For instance, instead of constantly focusing on the rising number of COVID-19 cases, focus on positive stories about people who have contracted the virus and have recovered.
The Bottom Line
During this difficult time, please remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Learning to recognize the signs of being overwhelmed and taking proactive measures can help you maintain good mental health during this time of fear and uncertainty.
Stay safe and healthy!