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Monday, May 25, 2020

Here’s how you can manage your mental health and well-being during a lockdown

As you try your best to cope with the challenges, it's understandable if in some way or the other the situation gets to you. So, if you are struggling to make the best of the situation or are simply looking to stay more positive right now, here's what you can do.

Updated: May 19, 2020 11:49:45 am
Illustration by C R Sasikumar

The current lockdown can mean a lot of things to us, but one thing that we all are collectively facing is a disruption in our daily routines. You stay cooped up in your house all day, can barely step out for some fresh air and work stress is only adding to it.

As you try your best to cope with the challenges, it’s understandable if in some way or the other the situation gets to you.  While there are several public health initiatives and policy measures aiming to relieve people of distress and anxiety, it is also imperative for us to understand the possible triggers and ways to steer clear of them. So, if you are struggling to make the best of the situation or are simply looking to stay more positive right now, here’s what you can do.

Talk to friends and family more often

The need for social or physical distancing right now should not be mistaken for ostracising yourself completely from your friends and relatives. Away from your loved ones, the four walls can really start to feel like entrapment. The next time you feel lonely or start feeling lethargic, why don’t you give some old friends a call? Not only will this add value to your day, but the chances are that you will make someone else happy with that unexpected call as well! You will be surprised how relaxing a good conversation can feel. After all, talking to people and coaxing each other through the maze of feelings will make both of you feel good and help alleviate any potential triggers you may face in the future.

Image source: Airtel

In a bid to foster connections during these challenging times, Airtel has stepped up to meet all the connectivity needs of Indians. To ensure we are always connected even during the lockdown, the telco has made it possible to recharge all mobile numbers (even non-Airtel) from the Airtel Thanks app. Now you don’t need to step out or look for open shops to recharge your phone, or even DTH and data card.

Be watchful of what you’re watching 

All of us are spending most of our time on one screen or another. If we aren’t binging a show on Netflix, we’re probably tuned in to a news channel talking about the lockdown. In fact, social media, newspapers, and even daily conversations are mostly just about lockdown. At a time like this, let’s not drown ourselves in the gloom.

In fact, as per the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation on mental health and psycho-social considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, you should seek informational updates at specific times of the day from health professionals or WHO website and avoid rumours that make you feel uncomfortable. Believe it or not, it’s better to watch your favourite rom-com rather than keep on consuming sensational news. However, too much of anything is bad. Even our favourite shows. We all have binge-watched our favourite series till 3 am in the morning and then suddenly felt empty when we switched off the TV. Avoid doing that to yourself, especially if you are alone. Take some downtime and catch up with shows that light you up from the inside and ease your mind but always plan and watch and only watch a specific number of hours of episodes.

Pro tip: You can use the Netflix Party app to watch a movie or show with your friends. It will provide you company for the movie and also help you stay connected.

Prioritise Self Care

Image source: Getty

Staying at home all day comes with its own set of challenges, but it is all about making better use of all this additional time we seem to have on our hands nowadays. So let’s make this extra time “me-time”. Dr Shwetank Bansal, a consulting psychiatrist at Delhi’s BLK Super Specialty Hospital, advises giving your days a structure. Maintain an office routine, for instance, even if you don’t have a lot to do. “This helps regulate your sleep and meal cycles,” he says. You can also work towards improving your meals by eating fresher foods to beat lethargy and low spirits. In fact, healthy food also leads to better sleep.

But when it comes to self-care, one size doesn’t fit all. While exercising and eating healthy can work for some, some feel relaxed while tending to their plants, organising their room, or just by shutting off all screens and taking a break. Anything that calms you is good for you.

Reach out for help 

Image source: Pixabay

A recent survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatry Society indicates that there has been a 20 percent rise in mental health cases since the outbreak, with at least one in five Indians suffering from some form of anxiety and depression. We can all relate to these feelings on some scale or another. However, instead of trying to push them away, it’s encouraged we take professional help. There is no shame in that.

​The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued advisories with assistance from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) on how to handle isolation and stay positive. The toll-free helpline number (080 – 4611 000) set up by the institute addresses the psychological concerns of people dealing with fear, panic, and anxiety over an unprecedented situation. Over 250 mental-health professionals have been attending these calls from all over the country.

Besides making the lockdown a little more bearable, the internet is also helping doctors consult their patients online. The government has also embraced the new normal by promoting telemedicine as a means of providing healthcare services. Mental practitioners have started moving their sessions online ever since the outbreak to help millions of people who are struggling with the situational factors surrounding COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. So, if you are feeling down, you can video call a therapist right from your home, and Airtel‘s superfast 4G can ensure that it feels as seamless as talking in person. According to the quarterly report from Opensignal, a leading global mobile network analytics company, Airtel offers the best video experience and voice call experience among all Indian network providers.

Image source: Airtel

In times that are uncertain, all we can do is be grateful for what we still have within our reach and count our blessings. While there will always be certain things out of our control, our attitude and spirit is something that we can sway with our determination.

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