Updated: Apr 30
The last year or so has been the most unpredictable for many of us with the new norm being mostly to stay at home. One of the areas gravely affected due to situations like stay-at-home is mental health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health has been deteriorating due to stress, anxiety, grief, and worry. The pandemic has affected our lives and has pushed us to innovate our lifestyle to accustom our physical and mental condition accordingly. There are numerous ways to face the inert challenges of not being able to go out as frequently. A few ways to overcome these challenges include staying fit, connected, and informed.
Staying Fit - The biggest challenge, during the pandemic, is to remain active which many of us found impossible since most of the days the walk to your commute, workplace, or grocery shopping may have been the activity that your body used to remain active. Due to many jobs being converted to temporary/permanent remote positions or frequent lockdowns and other restrictions to curb the spreading of the disease faster, these common activities have been highly restrained. The solution then lies in coming up with innovative methods. Exercise, even in the simplest form of walking indoors can keep you active improving not just physical health but also providing hormones like Serotonin and the feel-good hormone – Dopamine. The best way to continue with physical activity is to walk or pace indoors or use the stairs keeping a minimum count every day. It can be made more interesting by setting up goals/targets through some free and easily downloadable Step Count Apps available in App stores of most modern electronic mobile devices.
Staying Connected to People – Our usual social life before the pandemic included meeting up with friends or people with common interests like religious prayers at a commonplace or visiting relatives on occasions like weddings. Our movements outside are restricted due to safety measures but we can still use online technologies like Zoom, Skype, etc., to create an all-inclusive environment. The online hangout with friends can include dressing up, keeping snacks and drinks ready, and having games or activities. Another way to continue interaction among people, especially senior citizens can join online for religious sermons, which is an essential part of their social activities in many religious cultures. A common trend during the pandemic in many countries was the wedding and other social gathering events conducted successfully by most of the guests participating online and just the main family members physically present for the event. Such innovative methods allow us to continue with a social life and not feel excluded and lonely at home.
Staying Informed – Reading is an activity which if not a habit, needs to be cultivated as one, to be aware of consequences of the pandemic to the mental wellness of individuals. A denial in understanding that there is a problem will always keep us away from finding a solution for it. Information on mental conditions and coping with stress due to them during the pandemic can be availed from various online credible sources like - Center for Addiction and Mental Health, Mental Health Commission of Canada, World Health Organization, and The Lancet Psychiatry.
Disclaimer: The above-written article is based on the author’s research and understanding and do not in any means contribute as medical advise.