Covid cases and mental health issues go hand in hand owing to the uncertainty .
People around the world are facing mental health issues , pandemic really has our brain cells knocked up from all directions . The extensive news coverage and an unknown future are root cause towards an upsurge in anxiety amongst the masses along with domestic violence.
Even though I am a general physician who sees and treats various forms of depression , bipolar , epilepsy and panic disorders. I resort to an experts advise on management of these disorders during these UN-unprecedented times .
It has always bothered me to the core when people read up on psychiatry texts books , post treatment of a psychiatric illness , read psychology books or do a 6 week in course in something in the name of psychology start preaching it or practicing as psychologist . You need knowledge , a mentor and a good amount of practice under supervision before you let lose in the world to deal with people who really need help.
I resorted to my really good friend , Umme Kulsoom Kazmi MD who has recently graduated as a psychiatrist to share tips to deal quarantine anxiety and develop resilience during this covid roulette .
- Emotional and Mental well being : One common symptom everyone is experiencing at home is anxiety. This is a natural response from your mind but if you feel like it’s debilitating , you are unable to work from home , you are depressed and have recurrent panic attacks then schedule an appointment with your psychiatrist . If you are in the middle of a therapy then do not skip an appointment . Do not change meds if you have been taking them . If anything is affecting your mood then discuss it over with a professional to figure out whats causing it and chalk out a solution . Alot of times we find people have thoughts of self harm which is a red flag and needs attention .
- Limit social media and news : Being on social media is has it’s pros and cons. It devours us on a flood of information which usually is a bad news. The best thing to do is schedule time to read news . Try to read it during the day and schedule an activity after it like walk , exercise or call someone who comforts you . Try not to wake up or sleep to bad news. How you sleep sets tone for the next day. Being on social media also makes you believe you need to be a part of some activity and not sit idle this again provokes anxiety of not being productive .
- Time off family : It is imperative to understand during these times most of us are not going to feel like our normal selves , some of us will not feel like being online , some of us will not be comfortable talking to people on the phone. if you feel this is what you feel like doing then unapologetic-ally and guilt free take that time off . There should be no sense of feeling accountable to check in on people because now is the time you need to check in on yourself first . So when you are available to your family you are able to present a quality version of yourself as opposed to checking in everyday and feeling more anxious and adding in part of your anxiety on to others .
- Physical well Being: A scheduled life like pre corona times is important . There should be a fixed time to eat , sleep and exercise. Try to get dressed even if you are working from home this makes one feel motivated . Make one designated work area in your home which shouldn’t be your bedroom . Take breaks for lunch or chit chat with friends just like you would at your office. Try to stick to timings .
- Exercise : If you feel unsafe going out of your house then even a 15-20 min walk or exercise indoors is important . watch yoga videos and do them at home. The key here is movement to release endorphins that are responsible for feeling good. Sitting all day and not moving at all makes you feel more lethargic. Also There is a question that people are feeling more fatigued than usual despite being at home because a lot of our energies are being utilized to help us function during the day and keep that panic at bay – a part of our brain is utilizing more energy than it usually does to help us maintain ourselves during these changes circumstances and we might not office work but we surely have other gazillion things and new tasks to deal with while at indoors.
- Gratitude Journal : You can do this once a week. a study published at John Hopkins showed that people who practice gratitude journaling decreases the relapse in depression . As we sit and look at all the things we have lost during covid it is vital to also give heed to what has gone right and write it down stuff like I haven’t gotten it , my friend recovered , I have eyes , roof , family etc . It is in human nature to see things in black and white and always focus on the wrong. It is not because people lack to capacity to do but sometimes our anxiety and depression present this way . This exercise will put things in perspective and help make things concrete on what is some what better and not to catastrophize it.