If you’re stressed because of all the Covid-19 related news we’re constantly consuming all day, you’re not alone. Many of us are overdosing on the news, and feeling stressed out because of the situation that the entire world is facing. And it doesn’t take long for constant stress to turn into bigger and more serious mental health issues. While it’s completely natural to feel unproductive and lethargic, ignoring those feelings is not a good idea. Here’s what you can do to make it better.

Therapy is different things for different people

I don’t mean it literally. Therapy is great, and can do wonders for those suffering from mental health issues, or just simply in need of clarity of thought. But in these times, you decide what is ‘therapeutic’ for you. A lot of advice has been flying around on social media about the importance of staying busy, or exercising. But none of those will work if they don’t work FOR YOU. This isn’t something that can be generalised. Some might feel better after exercising, while others might feel good after creating art. Identify what is that thing for you.

Try not to develop unhealthy coping mechanisms

Alcohol is great, but not if you’re trying to use it as a means to escape real issues. Besides, excess of everything is bad. Try not to fall into the traps of escapism through doing too much of one thing. It could even be working out, or sleeping. Respect your body’s limits and try not to push it even further than what it is already going through.

Breathing exercises can do wonders

I spent most of my life dismissing anyone who would tell me that pranayam is the antidote to anxiety. It isn’t. But it helps. Being aware of your breathing and your senses have proven to have a calming effect on the brain. If you don’t have the time to practice breathing exercises, try to take deep breaths, and think of 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can feel. This is especially helpful when you’re having an anxiety or panic attack, as it helps break the brain’s cycle of spiralling.

It’s never too late to develop a hobby

I won’t lie, staying busy does help. A lot of people have been joking about how their only hobbies are eating out and shopping. But it’s never too late to learn something new. I can play four instruments, two of which I learnt after I graduated and started working. Indulging in something creative is great for your mind. But if it’s too much effort, then picking up gardening, or even a book are great options as well. And this way, maybe after the lockdown, you’ll refrain from your earlier ways of mindless consumption also - win-win!

If all else fails, go old school

How many times have you reminisced of your childhood and simpler times. It’s not tough to achieve, especially now. If you’re quarantining with friends or family, whip out your old board games or a pack of cards, and have a fun game night. If you’re alone, colouring, origami, and video games are great stress busters.

While I’m no expert, my relationship with my mental health has been, for the most part, like walking on eggshells. And I have learned that escapism does NOT help. Communication and staying in touch with reality is key to a healthy mind. But take some time to lay down a few rules for yourself to follow so you come out of this lockdown happy and healthy.

Social Image Credit: Benaras Media Works

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