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Mental Health and Coping During COVID

July 30, 2020 by optima0
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The novel Coronavirus is a new, unknown virus with life-threatening symptoms. With no vaccine or cure, it can trigger mental health issues rooted in the fear of contracting the disease. It may also inflict stress from job loss, depression from self-isolation, and other mental health issues from the lack of life normalcy.

Coping With Job Loss

Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession(PewResearch).

With all non-essential businesses closing for the safety of the people, some had no choice but to lay off workers. Many small businesses also took an irreparable hit. The negative impact of the virus on the economy will have it recovering for years to come.

The mental impact, however, hit harder than many can fathom.

Losing your job during a worldwide pandemic is something no one was prepared for mentally. The stress of paying bills, buying essentials, and keeping a roof over your head will be weighing on you. The key is to create healthy coping mechanisms. Avoid abusing substances. Make sure you take care of yourself physically and mentally.

If you’ve recently lost your job, been furloughed or laid off due to COVID, you may be struggling to manage feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty about your future, reach out to experts for help.

This time may be especially hard on those with existing mental health conditions.Fortunately, during this time, you don’t have to cope with these issues alone.

Self Isolation

The disruption of your normal daily routine is never easy. What makes it even worse during COVID, is the isolation. It has been not only recommended but required at times. To help “flatten the curve” by avoiding contact with any potential carriers of COVID.

That human connection that everyone needs can be taken away. It may impact your mental health more than you’re prepared for.On top of the uncertainty you’re feeling from COVID and maybe job loss, self-isolation creates loneliness. Which takes a detrimental toll on your mental health.

Self-isolation creates a high number of health risks. Some of which include:

  • Poor Sleep
  • Poor Cardiovascular Health
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Lower Immunity

It’s important to stay connected and stay open with your loved ones during COVID. If you’re struggling to stay healthy mentally and need help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

There are some suggested measures you should take to protect your mental health during COVID-19.

  • Maintain a Daily Routine

Although we know it’s hard to get out of bed when you have nowhere to go, it’s crucial. Laying in bed all day has a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. Create a daily routine to help keep yourself accountable and on track.

To keep yourself feeling accomplished and energized, set meal times, shower times, and other healthy activities to do throughout your day at home. Keeping yourself busy will keep you out of a poor mental state and create a purpose to your day.

  • Exercise

Exercising helps trigger those feel-good endorphins to keep your mind uplifted and your body healthy. With gyms closed, a lot of companies are offering free at-home workouts to join in on. Which also helps fulfill that personal connection. Do a lot, or even just a little bit. Taking this time to move your body is key to a happy and healthy mind.

  • Limit Substance Consumption

While it may make you feel better at the time, things like drugs and alcohol will negatively impact your mental health. Alcohol is a depressant and the comedown from drugs is very dangerous. Especially for those who may have existing mental health problems.

Depleting your brain’s serotonin levels from substance abuse is the worst way to cope during COVID.

  • Find a New Hobby

During life before COVID, there was probably a list of things you wanted to try. Things you wanted to learn but never had the time. Now is your chance!

Organize things, practice new recipes, read books you’ve been holding on to. The options are endless. Keeping your mind growing and busy during the pandemic is the best coping mechanism.

There Is Help

Coping during Covid-19 can be a hard journey. If you have pre-existing mental health conditions, it can be even harder. Don’t let the virus bring you into a relapse, or make you lose hope.

With the negative effects of COVID, resources for mental support are needed more than ever. If you feel lonely, depressed or just not yourself, contact your Psychologist or Psychiatrist to discuss an action plan.


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The Optima Psychiatric Hospital, a healing centre, situated in the Bloemfontein suburb, Hospitaalpark, accommodating 76 patients and is operated by a company consisting of nine partners, all Psychiatrists.

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