As over a billion people are confined home worldwide due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we face unprecedented challenges, anxious times – health, work, family and so on. With anxiety comes stress.
In these very unusual and difficult circumstances, it becomes more important to safeguard one’s mental health, to reduce stress.
Right thoughts, Right outlook, and Right mindset are needed to keep stress and tensions away.
Negative thoughts and worrying about the future is not going to help solve problems. We make the best use of the present situation, as it is. Using the present well leads to a better future and avoids unhelpful stress.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health experts recommend various ways to combat stress.
- Regularly exercise
Gyms are closed due to social distancing while taking a walk outside in your favourite neighbourhood area is not often possible. But exercising at home, on the terrace of your residential building or within the residential complex is an option – with aerobics, walking, and exercises we learned in the school physical education class!
You can practice yoga, take online yoga lessons for beginners.
Even cleaning the house is a form of exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, keeps us feeling “good” and helps keeps the stress away without negative thoughts.
- Eat healthily
Stress and anxiety can affect eating habits and vice versa. There can be a tendency to overeat or not eat enough. Have a balanced meal. Avoid excess snacking. As we are spending more time indoors, eating moderately is necessary to avoid becoming overweight. Care has to be taken that continuous eating (gorging) does not become unhealthy escapism. It will increase stress and anxiety. Eating right helps keep the mind alert and healthy.
- Maintain social connectivity
Social distance has to be maintained, so also social connectivity. In these uncertain times, connecting with others through phone, email, online chat, Facebook and other social media becomes important to reduce one’s own stress – as well as help others to not feel isolated.
- Avoid overexposure to news media
At the same time, avoid overexposure to media. Too much of bad news can worsen stress. Sitting all day in front of the TV and exposed to Coronavirus news increases anxiety and cause depression.
Limit exposure to news media, particularly for children since many news channels tend to exaggerate and repeatedly play disturbing images. Stay connected to social media sites that promote positive thinking and helpful information.
Play board games with children. Read them stories. This can be a time to catch up reading on all those great classics and books for which earlier you had little time.
- Learn a new language, start a new hobby
Start a new hobby. Learn a new foreign language like German, Spanish or French through excellent online classes available online for free, including on YouTube. So when the time soon comes when we can travel again, you can talk to people in your favourite foreign country in their own language! Keeping the mind busy with productive activity keeps stress and anxiety away.
- Get sufficient sleep and rest
Ensure you get the right amount of sleep, particularly in these times when people tend to stay glued to the news. Avoid spending very late nights on Netflix and other sources of online entertainment. Try and follow the age-old maxim for good physical and mental health: early to bed, early to rise keeps us healthy and wise!
- Practice meditation
Meditation is an excellent stress buster. You have more time for the meditation practice you know. Or you can learn any simple meditation technique online. Avoid attempting intricate meditation practices that need a teacher or a residential course. But any simple meditation exercise can help the mind be stress-free.
Good mental health is the real health that helps keep stress away and helps us to cope better in difficult times.