How to Take Care of Mental Health During a Pandemic

The current Coronavirus crisis is making situations tough for everyone around the world. Within a few months, everyone was hit with a virus that had so many unpredictable outcomes. With the growing stress and anxiety, it’s understandable that mental health can decline for most people. As a trained neurologist in Dubai, I’m here to share tips and hopefully help you through these stressful times.

During a global crisis, it’s easy to constantly look at the news to be updated. But what this does is create stress. To those scared of germs, and the concept of death itself, this is not an ideal situation. These people are now riddled with fear and anxiety that can have them spiraling in no time. Especially in the current age of the internet and technology, news – whether real or false – spreads around the globe within seconds; causing panic in countries that may be well-equipped to handle the situation.

A good way to prevent being stressed out by constant news updates is by filtering and limiting what you see. Only seek information from trusted websites – these may include official healthcare providers and government officials.

Limit your time on social media. In times of panic, social media users are quick to share statistics or facts that are scary and often over-exaggerated. Unfollow accounts that tend to do so, and make sure you’re following users that don’t make your anxiety spike. This is also the perfect excuse to follow multiple accounts dedicated to animals!

Create a routine, especially if you are self-isolating. Being by yourself for a long period of time will affect anyone, no matter how strong and independent they are. We all need social interaction and sometimes, video calls don’t cut it. It’s important to create a routine for yourself so that you don’t feel dejected. Try your best to follow the same patterns and schedules that you did when you had to go into work before working from home. When you wake up for the day, change out of your pajamas and into clothes that help to get you in a working mood.

Make sure to look after your physical wellbeing as well. Eat healthy and well-balanced meals, drink plenty of water and exercise indoors as much as you can. Physical activity also helps ease anxiety and helps release endorphins that can elevate your mood.

Keep yourself busy. Now is the perfect time to learn that new instrument you’ve always wanted or complete your reading list. Baking is a fun new hobby a lot of people have picked up nowadays – baking bread has been a go-to for many looking to cure their boredom and it’s a process that will surely keep you occupied for a long time.

One of the most important things you can do is make sure you take time to care for yourself. Indulge in activities that make you happy. Listen to your favorite music or a podcast, spend time with your pets, maybe even start a new skincare routine. Making sure to pay attention to yourself is an important step in taking care of your mental health in difficult times. Put your wellbeing first and make sure that you are getting the proper self-love and care that you deserve.

And finally, realize that you are not alone. There will always be support for mental health, even if we are all in isolation. Reach out to friends and family in low times. Sometimes, all we can do is talk it out and be there for each other and it’s crucial that you remember that you will always have someone to support you.

About Dr. Harry Horgan

Dr. Harry from German Neuroscience Center in Dubai, a leading Neurology Centre, is a UK-trained Clinical Psychologist, originally from Ireland. He completed his master’s degree in Health Psychology with the University of Ulster and completed his doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has almost a decade of experience working across a diverse range of mental health and other specialist psychology services in Ireland and the U.K.

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