Dr Apala Aggarwal Tuteja
Consultant Psychiatrist & Deaddiction Specialist
(MBBS MD Psychiatry)

Mankind changed when China reported the emergence of a novel corona virus (n-Cov) causing pneumonia in adults leading to what is popularly known as called corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19). No one could imagine that this illness would affect our lives to this extent. Pandemic, and especially lockdown has been a tough period for most of us. People lost their jobs, some lost their houses, many lost their families and loved ones. It is very natural for anyone to get demoralised and demotivated during this time. However, it also means that we must endure and be resilient, especially when there is so much negativity around so that we can sail through this phase effectively.

Here are some useful tips to stay mentally healthy and positive during the pandemic.

  1. Keep yourself busy – Whether it is an old hobby or a new skill or any household chore that is keeping you busy, it is important that you do not sit idle. Engaging in office work, interacting with friends, and looking after the seniors and the younger ones in the family could be other ways to keep busy.
  2. Try not to overthink – Thinking too much about the future is not helpful. Focus on the present. Staying at home and safe are the biggest priorities right now. Distract yourself with positive affirmations such as ‘I AM SAFE’, ‘MY FAMILY IS SAFE’, ‘I WILL BE ALRIGHT’, ‘THIS PHASE WILL BE OVER SOON’ whenever distressing thoughts start to bother you.
  3. Stay away from media – Keeping updated with latest information is important but constant updates about new cases, death tally, and other overwhelming news can cause anxiety and stress. To break the cycle, staying away from social media and news for some time can be a good idea for all of us.
  4. Take care of your health – This is the right time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, sleep adequately and exercise daily. If you are on meds because of any ailment, don’t forget to take them on time. Try to stay away from alcohol, tobacco, and all other psychoactive substances.
  5. Stick to a daily schedule – It is difficult to have a regular schedule when one is completely locked at home. However, it is extremely important to follow a timetable to keep yourself up and about. Getting up on time, taking meals on time, doing the morning chores on time help to maintain the biological rhythm intact which further keeps the mood and the energy levels uplifted.
  6. Be empathic and supportive – Rather than fearing or hating the people afflicted with the virus, one must have a supportive approach towards them. Helping others in their battles against COVID in whatever small way possible can bring courage and positivity.
  7. Show solidarity – Please follow all the norms of the law, community and medical advisory in this taxing time. It is unfortunate that we are facing such an extraordinary situation but if we all stay together, we all are bound to come out of this safe and sound!
  8. Talk it out – It is natural to feel confused, fearful, anxious or depressed in such times. If you think, you are overwhelmed with negative emotions, please talk to a mental health professional at the earliest. Don’t feel shy in asking for help.
  9. Be appreciative of those who are out there – While we all are at home, a lot of people are out there putting their lives at stake every day. Healthcare professionals, security guards, delivery boys, safai karamcharis, grocery store owners, supply chain drivers and many others are still working on a daily basis to protect the rest of us. A word of praise and encouragement can go a long way in motivating these people.
  10. Connect with the higher power – Praying generates faith. Faith builds hope. Hope instils motivation. Motivation helps in getting things done. Doing things the right way brings happiness. So, don’t forget to pray to help ease out the tension! Thanking Almighty for the little things one has also helps in staying resilient and strong.

Let us do our finest to get the better of us in these difficult moments. Promise yourself that you will take the best care of everyone around. Wishing you the best of mental health today and always!