Twenty-twenty has probably been among the most challenging of years most of us have faced in our lifetime (and are continuing to live through). For some, it meant the death of loved ones; for others, a near-death experience and hospitalization themselves. Others have lost jobs, livelihoods, homes. Children have missed out on education and socializing.

Governments and decision-makers in every country have had to make some tough choices. The world, in essence, has been turned upside down and all this has also affected the mental health of most people, in some form or another. Whether it is anxiety, loneliness, or fear, the current pandemic has affected everyone’s emotional and mental well-being to some extent. 

And while we can only take the necessary precautions and wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential that we take care of our mental health during this period. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

Don’t believe everything you hear or read

Knowledge is power, yes, but it is as important to be discerning of what we read, hear, and absorb. The internet and social media have the benefit of making news travel at the speed of light, but sometimes, that news can be fake.

We are so used to blindly believing all that is shared and told to us, and then sharing it further, only causing more panic and anxiety. Don’t believe everything you read or hear until you have checked the facts. For those interested in the future of healthcare and the effect of the pandemic on this sector, J Lyle Bootman is worth a read. 

Be sensible and change what you can

The spread of the virus is not entirely in our hands and it is not possible to curb it entirely until a suitable vaccine is available to all. That is a scary fact, but instead of it instilling fear in you, take sensible precautions to prevent it from affecting you.

Things like washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask, avoiding unnecessary travel and contact with people and looking after your physical and mental health are your best defences and will give you some sort of control over the situation.

Calm your mind and the rest will follow

It is normal to feel anxiety and even mild depression during a time like this, but constantly thinking about it will only make the situation worse. Instead, try diverting your mind by occupying yourself with something else, albeit it work, a hobby, or listening to music. Do anything that makes you happy and helps take your mind off the current situation. 

For those who have never tried meditation, now is a good time to start. Even ten minutes a day will help you calm your mind and take away unnecessary stress. And if your mind is calm, everything else seems much more manageable.

Social interaction

Human interaction is necessary for survival; however, social distancing is the basis of this pandemic. Spending months in lockdown, trapped within the four walls of your house, can get lonely and lead to mild depression, especially for those living alone. Make it a point to at least interact virtually with family and friends. Even a phone call with a family member or friend can instantly lift your mood.