Checking in with your mental health during pandemic

Corona virus is a virus that causes respiratory illnesses in humans. It is called corona because it has spikes on its surface which look like crowns. The intensity of these illnesses can range from mild to severe, and death. It can cause lung problems like pneumonia, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), and sepsis. These can harm lungs and the other organs to a great extent and for a long period of time.  But, having a strong immunity can save you from this deadly virus. Since, the step of oral vaccines has been taken, the situation in pretty under control.

Checking in with your Mental Health during Pandemic:

Mental health means the behavioral, emotional, and cognitive well-being. It is concerned with how people feel, behave, and think. People occasionally use the term “mental health” to refer to the absence of a mental disorder.

Mental health may affect relationships, daily living, and physical health.

The steps to check in with your mental health during pandemic are as follows;

1. Recognize that your anxiety is completely normal

If the closing of schools and the news headlines are triggering your anxiety, do not think you are the only one. This is how one should be feeling in such a condition.

 “Psychologists have long recognized that anxiety is a normal and healthy function that alerts us to threats and helps us take measures to protect ourselves”, stated by Dr. Lisa Damour, an expert adolescent psychologist.

Your anxiety will be helpful in forcing your mind to take a decisions that are necessary to take right now which include avoiding big groups of people, washing hands properly, keeping your hands off your face.

Such things not only help you but also help others around you. This is how you take care of the people of your community. We are supposed to be thinking about the people around us as well.

Although, it is completely normal to have anxiety, keep in mind to ensure “to get information from reliable sources [such as UNICEF and World Health Organization], or to check any information coming through less reliable channels”, an advice from Dr. Damour.

If you are worried about having the symptoms, make sure to have a dose of oral vaccine or let your parents/guardians know about it. “You should know that the coronavirus disease is usually mild, especially for children and young people”, says Dr. Damour.

It is also mandatory to know that a lot COVID-19 symptoms treatable. It is advised to tell your parents or an adult, that you trust, if you are not feeling well or are worried about being caught the virus, so that they may help you.

And remember the advice: “There are many things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe and to feel in better control of our circumstances: frequently wash our hands, don’t touch our faces and limit face time with others.”

2. Find a distraction

“Psychologists know that when people are in chronically difficult conditions it’s helpful to divide the problem into two categories: things they can do something about and then things they can do nothing about”, says Dr. Damour.

The second category has a lot right now, and that is totally fine, but distractions can be a great source of helping us cope.

Dr. Damour asks to do homework, to watch favorite movies or to read books, as the ways to make it easier on ourselves and also to find a balance in our regular life.

3. Find new ways to connect with friends

If you want to connect with your friends and also limit your face time, social media platforms are a great way to do so. Join Tiktok and show your creativity there such as taking part in challenges like #safehands and #oralvaccines. “I would never underestimate the creativity of teenagers”, says Dr. Damour and adds: “My hunch is that they will find ways to [connect] online that are different from how they’ve been doing it before.”

“[But] it’s not a good idea to have unfettered access to screens and/or social media. That’s not healthy, that’s not smart and it may amplify the anxiety”, says Dr. Damour and commands to make a proper schedule for social media time along with your parents.

4. Focus on yourself

Focus on yourself and start taking care of yourself in the way you never did. Learn a new skill or start reading a new book or start learning playing an instrument. This is the time you do all that.

Focusing on yourself and finding ways to use the time that is now available are a great way to take care of your mental health.

“I have been making a list of all the books I’ve wanted to read and all of the things I’ve wanted to do for some time now”, says Dr. Damour.

5. Connect with your feelings

To miss enjoying events, sporting with friends and following your hobbies is very disappointing. “These are major losses. They are very upsetting for all, including teenagers”, Dr. Damour says. “What is the best way to deal with disappointment? Allow yourself to feel it. When it comes to having a painful feeling, the only way out is through. Go be sad, and if you allow yourself to do it, you will feel better soon.”

Everyone has different feelings at different situations. “Some children are going to make art, some are going to want to talk to their friends and use their shared sadness as a way to feel connected in a time when they can’t be together in person, and some children are going to want to find ways to get food to food banks”, says Dr. Damour. It is important to listen to what your bran is trying to tell you to do and what it says is right for you to do.

6. Be kind to yourself and others

 A number of teenagers are unfortunately facing violence and bullying due to the COVID situation. “Activating bystanders is the best way to address any kind of bullying”, says Dr. Damour.

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