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Self-care in the times of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the nation prepares to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19), a state of fear and tumult pervades

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24th March: Sitting on my living room couch, I noticed the clock struck 8:01pm. Before I could even begin my sentence, my husband, standing with remote control in hand, switched to the news. On our television– like the majority of televisions across India at this time –a close-up of PM Modi addressing the nation. His words, “Sampurna lockdown hone jaa raha hai” continued ringing in my head. 

As the nation prepares to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19), a state of fear and tumult pervades. For individuals that have been experiencing mental health issues prior to the outbreak, the current climate can exacerbate their difficult condition. 

At testing times like these, we can respond to the pandemic with greater effectiveness by engaging in self-care practices. Here are 5 ways to maintain your wellbeing:

1.Maintain a healthy routine 

With lifestyle changes (schools closed, working from home, social distancing), it’s tempting to slip into slacks, binge on snacks and Netflix your day away. However, maintaining a daily routine is key to practicing self-care. Eat healthy meals, sleep regular hours and continue with daily activities outside of work.

Take this time to conquer your to-do-list such as catching up on sleep, undertaking a DIY project, reading a book or watching a movie you’ve always wanted to. 

2. Stay physically active

Physical activity is directly linked to positive mood. Being homebound can curtail your level of physical activity, so ensure that you are recompensing for this. Consider integrating activities into your daily routine that focus on positive mental health. Try meditation, stretching or taking a power walk within your compound. You can also access home workout ideas online, stream yoga classes and make a family member your work-out buddy.

3. Obtain information in a healthy way

When seeking information about COVID-19, obtain information from official and reliable sources such as the World Health Organization or CDC. Circulating or receiving misinformation can cause fear and panic within the community. 

Constant engagement with the news can intensify distress, so avoid excessive exposure to the media. Set aside a specific amount of time each day for COVID-19 updates, finding a balance that works for you. Take a break from the news if needed. Setting limits will allow you to stay informed without feeling overwhelmed.

4. Acknowledge your own feelings

Be mindful of how you feel by identifying and acknowledging your feelings around the COVID-19 outbreak. It is normal to feel vulnerable at a time like this, and you are not alone. You may find comfort and reassurance in sharing how you feel with a loved one. Alternatively, you can release your discomfort by writing down how you feel. Finally, you can access a range of digital Apps such as Calm and Headspace that are designed to manage your difficult emotions.

5. Stay connected and reach out for professional support

During difficult times, staying connected with friends and family (in person or digitally) can become a source of support and stability. Check up on and comfort loved ones who are living alone. This can be beneficial to both the person receiving support and the one(s) helping them.

If you are struggling with your mental health and need additional support, you can seek professional help. Sharing your struggles with a trained professional can be consoling, allowing you to discuss your experiences in a non-judgmental and safe space. You can seek support from home, as many services provide online therapy.

As human beings, we love to have control over things and feel shaken at times of uncertainty. Amidst the uncertainty that the COVID-19 outbreak brings, it is imperative to recognise and focus on things that you do have control over. Rather than ruminating all the “what if” scenarios, focus your energy on practicing self-care, following hygiene advice and taking small concrete actions as we move forward in this situation together. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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