MENTAL HEALTH AND COVID-19 ARTICLE
Daisy W. Muthari
Oasis Health Specialty Hospital
Covid-19 and Mental health:
According to WHO, fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So, it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When we are facing a crisis, the first thing that gets negatively affected is our mental wellbeing and funny enough is also the first thing that will help us endure and survive the same crisis. In crisis mode, our brains automatically shift from higher functioning such as, paying attention, organizing, planning, prioritizing and regulating emotions, to a primal, more immediate threat response. This is better known as the flight, fright, fight response, if these warning signs recur and persist, it lessens the brain’s ability to self-sooth. In the midst of our current COVID-19 crisis, self-soothing is the one thing that we need more than ever. Recognizing crisis mode living is the first step to bringing balance to your thinking and your health. (Booysen, 2020)
Okay, how do I self-sooth? you ask, well here are five tips to help you navigate.
- Focus on what you have control over and less on what you do not have control over. The pandemic is inevitable something that we would all want to somehow eradicate so that we can all go back to normality, but unfortunately not something we have direct control over. We do however have control over our perception of the ongoing global crisis and how we can adjust to the new normal!
- Meditation. As believers we are privileged to have open access to a higher power that we are certain is bigger than our circumstances. One who speaks through His word, and reminds us of the truth by His Holy Spirit, in Joshua 1:8, it says “do not let this book depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written within it.” Take encouraging portions of scripture and meditate on them.
- Take care of your physical health. During this period, one can get caught up in the events of things and neglect their physical wellbeing. Maintaining good lifestyle by regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, maintain social contacts are key in ensuring your mental wellbeing is being taken care of.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Understandable so, there is a lot of negative information filled with fear from statistics and predictions, coverage of the reality of things on the ground and it is easy to get caught up in this and be overtaken by what I happening around you. Keeping a gratitude journal helps your mind remember that there are still good things that are happening despite everything.
- Vary your routines. Keeping a routine helps you have a sense of control. Try and vary your routines so that you see different people and encounter different situations. Mix up the activities that you do each day to keep you motivated. If taking a walk at a specific time becomes monotonous, schedule it for a different time, visit different supermarkets for your shopping and things of that nature.
Booysen, C. (2020, March 23). https://www.voicesofyouth.org/blog. Retrieved from Voices of Youth: https://www.voicesofyouth.org/blog/coronavirus-and-mental-health-your-wellbeing-can-be-someone-elses-survival.