While a situation like a lockdown or quarantine can be difficult and stressful for most of us, it is important to maintain good mental health and not let anxiety and fear grip us. Staying calm, and being supportive to others around us will help us all wade through this crisis together.
The general public, children and the elderly at home, caregivers and medical workers, suspected, confirmed and recovered patients of COVID-19 need to now equally focus on their mental health along with their physical fitness.
Before we dive into the tips for each of the above target groups on how to take care of their mental health during the lockdown, let us look at some general messages for all:
How to stay positive and cheerful?
Keep yourself informed, but read-only from trusted sources
Focus on positive news like an increasing number of cured cases. Remember most people recover from COVID-19 with proper rest and care
Keep yourself busy. Make a daily schedule and follow it
Rediscover old hobbies like painting, dancing, gardening or stitching
Practice yoga or meditation to stay calm and beat stress
Things to avoid doing while you are at home:
Limit your social media and TV time. Do not watch COVID-19 updates; rejects rumors and theories
Avoid fried, fatty and cold food items
Do not work from the same corner or room every day (only if you are not self-isolating due to any form of sickness)
Do not panic if you have a common cold. Consult your doctor immediately
How children can keep themselves busy?
The COVID-19 outbreak can make children anxious and confused. Provide reassurance to children and answer their queries calmly. Simple ways by which children can stay busy and happy are:
Indulge in indoor games, drawing or watching cartoons
Do household chores like washing dishes and drying clothes
Stay virtually connected with friends and cousins
Eat nutritious meals, exercise daily and sleep well
Study or read daily and stay connected with their syllabus
Tips for the elderly to take care of their mental health
Isolation and lockdown can result in loneliness and overwhelming emotions and fear in the elderly. Some ways by which elderly family members can protect their mental health are:
Spend considerable time with your family and engage in meaningful conversations
Do simple yoga, meditation or light exercises daily at home
Get involved in activities like watering plants and cleaning vegetables
Stay regularly in touch with loves ones
How caregivers at home can deal with mental stress?
Caring for loves ones at home can be mentally straining. Here’s how you can deal with mental stress during the lockdown:
Do not to panic each time a family member coughs/ sneezes or feels unwell
Read about hopeful and positive stories of recovery and cure of COVID-19 cases
Take ample rest and eat healthy meals on time
Prepare a list of important contact numbers (government helpline numbers, healthcare provider numbers) that can be helpful during an emergency
Set a daily routine. Seek help from other family members. Do not feel overwhelmed or over-burdened
Tips for healthcare workers and providers
A pandemic like COVID-19 can be a traumatic experience for any healthcare worker and provider. One is required to work round the clock and deal with infected patients and their families at the hospital.
Congratulate yourself every day for working tirelessly and continuously
Feel proud of your selfless service and contribution to the society and to the nation in times like these
Take care of yourself. Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Eat timely meals and take sufficient breaks during your shifts
Try and discuss matters that do not revolve around COVID-19 or the current situation
Connect with friends and family from time to time
Tips to help people who are in self-isolation
Self-isolation means staying indoors all by yourself. Self-isolation could last from about 5 days to up till 2 weeks. If you are self-isolating, remember to:
Keep a daily routine. Read a book or do something creative.
Practice meditation or breathing exercises to remain calm and stress-free
Read information and updates only from trusted sources
Connect with friends and family virtually to beat boredom and loneliness
Let’s all try and look at the positive side of this lockdown and keep our calm. It is important to stay hopeful and help each other get through these tough times.
Read more on guidelines for mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak: