As India panics about rising coronavirus cases, here is how you can stay calm

These are surely trying times, but panicking won’t keep you safe from coronavirus. Here is how you can take care of your mental health during this time and stay safe.
Don’t panic! Just stay calm and be prepared. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Ambrish Dharmadhikari Updated: 11 May 2021, 00:38 am IST
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In the midst of the spread of the pandemic of coronavirus, fear is also spreading equally fast. Along with the physical afflictions it brings about, the disease also has serious repercussions on our mental health–given the anxiety its uncertain nature induces. 

In this time of difficulty, we need to take care of ourselves physically as well as mentally. Let us understand what we can do:

1. Digest fact, not fiction
Information is being thrown around social media, including false claims, panic-inducing facts, conspiracy theories, and magical remedies. Your first step should be to avoid ingesting all this misinformation. You should obtain information from credible government sources and check information only when needed.

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Constant influx of information may aid feelings of despair and anxiety. It may also precipitate episodes in people with pre-existing mental health conditions.

2. Act, don’t react
We all need to take collective actions and preventions to prevent the spread of infections. But we should also ensure that we do not go overboard and create panic situations. Our actions will affect our family members, friends, and colleagues. Ensuring our safety and safety of the people around us is important!

Hence, if anyone has excessive anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic or symptoms of depression, you should guide them to mental health professions.

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3. Be prepared
If you are taking all the requisite precautions then the chances of you contracting the infection are low. But still, you should be prepared in case you or anyone else in the family contracts infections. You should also be mentally prepared to face it and ensure mental resilience.

Gathering information of the steps to be taken, early identification signs, and contact details of the nearest hospital and/or testing centre should be handy. Taking such steps can ensure preparedness and mental well-being.

4. Take precautions even if you are in self-isolation
Many among us are in self-isolation and maintaining social distance as per guidelines from health authorities. You might be excited to work from home initially, however you may end up bored soon. This may give rise to the urge to go out and socialise. But, this is the time to restrain ourselves for the larger good and continue self-isolation as per guidelines. In case of any difficulties or discomfort, you should seek online help from mental health professionals or call a friend to share your feelings.

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5. Take care of your health
This is a good time to build your immunity and get physically fit. It is advised that you eat healthy and do regular exercise to maintain good health. Similarly, this is the time to build mental health hygiene by incorporating a healthy coping mechanism. You can opt for meditation or other stress-busting techniques.

6. Don’t be afraid to seek help
In this period of panic, it is okay to feel scared, anxious, paranoid, afraid, worried, distressed, low, fatigued, and helpless. These emotions are human. But it’s not okay to NOT seek help. We shouldn’t feel hesitant to seek help in times of duress. We need to understand stress and anxiety in such time could be damaging to your mental health. We need to take care of mental health at par with our physical health.

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About the Author

Dr Ambrish is the Head of Medical Services (Psychiatrist) at Mpower – The Foundation ...Read More

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