COVID-19 has truly shaped the way we live our lives. Not only has this infectious disease forced us to maintain distance from each other - it has also caused us to live in fear, uncertainty, and grief. In one way or another, we are all suffering - some more so than others. Here is the shocking relationship between Coronavirus and mental health.

Covid-19 and your mental health

1. You feel depressed, traumatised, and anxious

Several studies show that people have experienced worse mental health problems during the pandemic — experiencing elevated symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). More than half of the respondents showed signs of depression while over 30% showed symptoms of serious anxiety.

Anxiety and depression keep you from resting fully, creating a vicious cycle which makes your mental health even worse.

How to overcome:

Limit your exposure to the news - negative reports about Covid-19 will only make your anxiety worse. So, try to limit your exposure to this information.

Build a circle of support around you - this includes a group of people or tools that you can lean on when times are hard. For example, a friend who checks up on you every morning and night to make sure everything is ok. Or someone who can do some groceries for you when you are not feeling well.

Don’t forget the basics - if you want to take care of your mental health, take care of your body. Keep yourself hydrated, eat balanced meals, move around, and exercise. Keep your old routine or create a new one and do your best to follow it every day.

Acknowledge that you are worthy of support - remember that you are worthy of support. Though hard, be kind to yourself and believe that people are there to help you. Despite being under pressure, most GP, pharmacies, and mental health professionals are still operating and are there to help. You should never suffer in silence.

2. You feel lonely

Social distancing measures have left many of us feeling isolated and lonely. According to a study, young people in the UK between 18 to 24 years old are most likely to experience loneliness since the beginning of the lockdown. Almost 45% of young adults reported feeling this way.

How to overcome:

Use technology to connect with people - stay in touch with your family and friends virtually. You may not feel the warmth of their touch but you can still smile as you connect with them through Facebook, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. If you are not tech-savvy, consider a regular phone call or even writing letters.

Help others - reaching out to others who might be lonely can help you feel good. You’ll never know how much difference a phone call or message makes to someone who badly needs it.

Take a walk - if you feel lonely, consider taking a walk around your neighbourhood. Walking can help you relax and reconnect with nature. Just make sure to keep a safe distance from others.

3. Dealing with change and loss

All of us have been affected by the pandemic in one way or another. Many of us have lost our personal freedom and a great number of people are struggling to cope with the loss of income or a job. Tragically, many of us have also dealt with the loss of a loved one.

Someone or something that is important in your life is no longer there.

When you lose something or someone, your body and mind will react to this change. In some cases, this change can make your world feel like it’s falling apart. During this time, you may experience sadness, anxiety, shock, anger, grief, and guilt. And as a result, your ability to sleep, eat, make decisions, and concentrate suffers. Some people also experience physical pain like headaches and fatigue.

How to overcome:

Adjusting to change, loss and bereavement takes time. Here are the things you can do to help yourself:

Don’t hide your feelings to yourself - let the pain out. Talk to friends or family through a phone call or a video call. Some people write down their feelings while others use music as an outlet. Whatever your coping mechanism is, always remind yourself that what you are feeling is normal and that it’ll pass.

Do something that will make you feel good - a great way to distract yourself is to try something new like growing plants, making music, watching a movie, reading a book, or revisiting some old hobbies.

Learn to give to others - sometimes, a simple act of kindness benefits the giver more than the receiver. Consider volunteering or reaching out to someone who might be lonely.