Looking after your mental health during outbreak of coronavirus. -

Looking after your mental health during outbreak of coronavirus.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new illness and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Healthily coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

• Fear and worry about your health and your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
• Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
• Worsening of chronic health problems.
• Worsening of mental health conditions.
• Increased use of tobacco and alcohol and other substances.

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 reasonable and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the virus’s spread. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, we must look after our mental and physical health.

Take care of yourself and your community.

Taking care of your friends and your family can be a stress reliever, but it should be balanced with concern for yourself. Helping others cope with their stress, such as providing social support, can also make your community stronger.

During increased social distancing, people can still maintain social connections and care for their mental health. Phone calls or video chats can help you, and your loved ones feel socially connected, less lonely, or isolated.

Healthy ways to cope with stress

• Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
• Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counseling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
• Take care of your emotional health. Taking care of your emotional health will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family.
• Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

• Take care of your body.
• Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate external icon.
• Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
• Exercise regularly.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
• Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
• Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
• Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. Social distancing measures are in place, considering connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

Know the facts to help reduce stress

Knowing the facts about COVID-19 and stopping the spread of rumors can help reduce stress and stigma. Understanding the risk to yourself and people you care about can help you connect with others and make an outbreak less stressful.

Take care of your mental health.

Mental health is an essential part of overall health and wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices during an emergency.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable in an emergency. Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day. These conditions may be situational (short-term) or long-lasting (chronic).

People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. If you think you have new or worse symptoms, call your healthcare provider.

Source: WHO, CDC