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    5 Ways To Protect Your Mental Health During Pandemic

    Burnout, anxiety, depression – ask a loved one and you will get these answers from most. Several mental health issues have become common during the pandemic. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. It has forced us to work remotely, study online and practice social distancing amongst other things. There are also a lot of insecurities relating to job security and health. In such times, it is natural to experience feelings of fear, paranoia, loneliness, depression, anger, frustration and anxiety. Knowing how to protect mental health during the pandemic is the need of the hour so that we can continue leading our lives as normally as possible.

    Research data has proven that the mental health of Indians has deteriorated considerably due to Coronavirus. Close to 50% of children have shown signs of agitation, irritability and anxiety due to the stress of being locked up at home and online classes. 67% of the young people between the ages of 18 and 32 years old felt lonely. Over 75% of the migrant workers are anxious about the well being of their families back home. A large percentage of women have faced mental and physical exhaustion due to the additional burden of working from home and domestic responsibilities. 

    Celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Shaheen Bhatt, Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar have often spoken about the importance of mental health and it is high time that there is awareness regarding mental problems and their solutions. Helping people understand how to protect mental health during the pandemic is crucial in ensuring that they do not start indulging in substance abuse, violence or try to end their lives. 

    How To Protect Mental Health During Pandemic

    If you sense that you are not in the right state of mind, it is necessary to start taking small steps each day towards achieving a positive and happy mindset. Here are some ways in which you can gain an understanding of how to protect mental health during the pandemic.

    1. Don’t Obsess Over The News

    Extensive and continuous exposure to news relating to the virus can be overwhelming and become a cause for anxiety. There is also a lot of misinformation and rumour-mongering which makes matters worse. Whether it is over the television, on radio or access to information over social media, extensive exposure to news can be overstimulating for sensitive people. 

    Did You Know?

    Statistics say that 44.7% of Indians have admitted to feeling anxious after reading social media posts related to Covid-19. 

    Experts advise against overexposing oneself to too much information about the virus. There has to be a set boundary with regards to how much time has to be spent consuming news each day. It must be noted that along with the time spent on news, the sources of the news also need to be given a good amount of thought. In order to learn how to protect mental health during the pandemic, one must try to stay away from the sources that turn to sensationalism to attract TRPs and choose legitimate sources that display accurate information.

    2. Exercise

    Physical workouts are great not only for the physical well being of the body but also the mental health of the individual. It has been proven that exercise helps with beating anxiety, reducing tension, eliminating stress and releasing happy hormones (endorphins) in the body. Even though the gymnasiums are shut on account of Covid-19, keeping the body active by stepping out for cycling or a run in an open area is a good option to get the body moving and enjoy some fresh air. In cases where it is not possible to exercise outdoors, simple exercises like stretching, yoga and breathing exercises can be easily done at home. One can also take help from the many youtube videos that are available to guide beginner workouts. Another amazing benefit of exercising during the pandemic is that it helps one to stick to a routine which is helpful in bringing a sense of normalcy to everyday life.

    3. Do What You Love

    Everyone has at least one activity that interests them so much that they feel completely cut off from their surroundings while indulging in it. Whether it is art, music, reading, gardening, cooking or something else; find time to do it on a regular basis. Now that all of us are spending our time at home, there are ample opportunities to take time off for doing the things that you really love. Getting engrossed in hobbies is extremely beneficial in distracting your mind from any anxious thoughts. Hobbies are a great way for an individual to unwind and relax.

    4. Reach Out To Loved Ones

    The pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty in all our lives. Having to stay indoors is making us feel isolated. In such circumstances, mental turmoil and anxiety are bound to rise. The one thing that is sure to bring immense comfort and joy is connecting with loved ones. Even though meeting friends and family has become difficult, the fact that everyone is working/studying from home makes it easier to connect with them virtually. Make it a point to connect with your loved ones frequently. Let your guard down and tell them about your feelings. In all probability, they might be going through similar emotions. These candid conversations about commonly shared fears and insecurities can help in understanding that it is normal to feel the way you do. Such interactions also give you an opportunity to share notes on how to identify triggers and how to deal with negative feelings. 

    5. Seek Help From A Counsellor

    While the rest of the ways to cope with anxiety in relation to the pandemic should work for many people, they might not work for all. All of us have different mindsets, experiences and mental thresholds. There should be increased awareness relating to the signs that indicate that an individual requires professional help. Some of these signs are:

    1. No other coping mechanism seems to help.
    2. A loved one has heard your thoughts and recommended therapy.
    3. You have become/are becoming dependent on mood-altering substances.
    4. You are unable to function and be productive.
    5. Your friends/family are beginning to give up trying to help you.

    It is unfortunate that seeking help for mental issues is considered to be taboo even amongst educated people. Seeking mental health can be by way of approaching a certified psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellor or therapist. These professionals are adept in using various forms of therapy like psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation and relaxation techniques. In some cases, the experts also prescribe medication to help manage anxiety and depression. Getting help from an expert is the best thing you can do while figuring out how to protect mental health during the pandemic.

    Although it is true that we are all facing a series of social, psychological, physical and financial changes, it is extremely pivotal that we know how to protect mental health during the pandemic. Fretting over the situation and allowing our mental state to be compromised will make it impossible to come out of this situation stronger, smarter and more resilient. The key to a healthy mindset is keeping faith in the Government, medical infrastructure and most importantly, yourself. Only if you have a positive and calm mind can you make the right decisions relating to your finances, family and health.

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