‘Be Kind To Your Mind’.
This is a public announcement made by the CDC recognizing the rising anxiety and stress among the population. And I think that’s a great initiative. It can be difficult to deal with an invisible enemy that has taken over the world within months. Yes, it is triggering. It has been stressful for each and every person around the globe. But, there are also people who are more vulnerable than others. Ones who are not able to deal with COVID-19 anxiety on their own. The world sees you, wide and clear.
Despite the circumstances, it is important to understand that successfully dealing with the crisis and its anxiety is not an impossibility. It just takes a few steps to walk yourself through the hard times and to be kind to your mind. So let me introduce you to some simple steps that work wonders in keeping a healthy mental state even in such hard times. Take a look and see if you find anything useful for your situation.
Start with Acceptance
If you feel your anxiety kicking in, don’t fight it. The global pandemic is a tough situation for everyone. And it’s completely okay to feel stressed. It’s natural to worry about the financial state, health of our family and friends, and our own safety. If such thoughts stress you out, don’t feel bad. Most of us are in the same shoes. Instead of ignoring the state, accept it, and try the different methods to counter it. And rest assured that in case the situation goes out of hand, doctors will be available to help you online as well as offline.
Distance Yourself from the Triggers
Take time through quarantine to figure out your trigger points and maintain a distance from them. The daily news and social media posts are one of the major triggers right now. It makes sense to know all the updates of the pandemic. But if that’s a major cause of your disrupted mental states, it’s time to keep a safe distance for a while. Also, the online information is in a chaotic state where facts and fiction are intermingled. It’s better to avoid them than get stressed with the claims.
Let one of your friends and family keep up with the news instead. They’ll update you in case there is something you should know. This way your FOMO is not triggered either.
In times of stress, sharing your feelings with a trustworthy friend or family member can be extremely helpful. When you have someone who listens to you, the burden and suffocation of heavy feelings reduce. Staying connected also takes your mind away from the trigger situations. In fact, if you know someone going through the same feelings as you, talking with them can be beneficial for both of your mental states.
Anxiety is very common among older people and those with mental disorders. If you know someone who is vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed with the current crisis, stay in touch with them and be the ears for their feelings.
Use Productivity as a Distraction
While at home quarantine, anxiety can be countered with a distraction. And not just any activity but one that promotes productivity. This way not only will your focus be away from triggers but you will also look forward to making time for the activity every day.
You can try gardening. A small kitchen garden with a few microgreens and herbs or big shady plants for the summer in the lawns. Either way, your physical activity will increase and so will the happy feelings. You could also try a hand at painting. It is a relaxing activity and lets you exercise your thoughts and emotions on canvas.
Food Can Be a Facilitator of Good Mental State
Mental state and food are closer than you think. You may have heard of stress eating. That’s a very common scenario especially now when most of the world is indoors. But my point is more in the direction of mood as a result of the food we eat.
What goes into your body can decide your mood changes. For example, processed food is connected to poor gut health that can show negative effects on your mood. On the contrary, the Mediterranean diet has become popular for resulting in reduced levels of depression and anxiety.
So eating healthy has healthy outcomes in your mood. Fill your plate with whole food, greens, legumes, nuts, and a little bit of every important nutrition. Also, do not forget about water. Remember to maintain a healthy level of hydration every day.
A Dog Can Help
Dogs are one of the best choices for balancing one’s emotional state. In fact, professional therapies use dogs as a facilitator for improvement. If your mental or emotional state suffers frequent fluctuations, getting a furry friend would be a great idea.
Dogs help regulate anxiety by increasing the production of happy hormones in the body. Regular physical touch, positive attitude, attention and unconditional love from a dog reflects on its owner as happiness. Also, regular walks, feeding times and playdates will keep you busy enough to stay at a distance from potential triggers.
Overwhelming feelings usually develop due to the tendency of overthinking about minor things. Everyone is well aware of the symptoms of COVID-19. But this awareness should not be suspicion for every little change that happens in your body or that of others. It’s the time of seasonal allergies which causes sneezing and light cough among people. Also, regular smokers are prone to continuous cough. Do not get paranoid when you do develop a symptom or come across a person who does.
If you are feeling any of the COVID-19 symptoms, take precautions and get in contact with a doctor. As for other people, keep practicing social distancing and hand sanitization if you are suspicious. As long as you are keeping up with all safety measures there is no need to panic. Go easy on your mind.
Help Ones in Need
If you have the privilege to stay indoors and stock up on all the essentials, help others who don’t have access to either. In such times, there are people who have not been able to fight the lockdown and the virus. You can help them survive even without getting out of your home. Contribute to charities or even the people around you who are in need. Helping others develops positive feelings and flushes out the negative aspects of your mood.
So remember to be kind to your mind during the quarantine. Apply these points in your life and also spread the word to those who can find this blog useful.