7 ways to maintain your mental health during coronavirus outbreak – a shortlist

mental health during coronavirus

 Woman meditating to better her mental health.

7 ways to maintain your mental health during coronavirus outbreak- a shortlist

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Sophia DiBattista

The coronavirus is requiring everyone to self-isolate, which is taking a toll on most people’s mental wellbeing. Luckily, there are numerous techniques to maintain a stable mindset throughout this trying time.

Psychological distress can come in the form of fatigue, a constant state of fear, drowsiness, insomnia, insecurity, feeling out of control and more. Those who have had or currently have mental illnesses may even experience stronger symptoms of anxiety.

No matter who someone is or what they have previously gone through, everyone needs to hunker down and learn to fight against this negativity together. So, here is a shortlist of ways to alleviate anxiety and stress during the worldwide crisis.

Focus on your physical health

Mental health and physical health work hand-in-hand. You cannot have one without the other, and many people might forget that. For example, getting enough sleep allows your body to perform at its fullest potential, and the same goes for the brain as well.

Small exercises at home can help break the day up and keep you from feeling rundown. If there is enough space to walk around outside, do so. Vitamin D is vital to everyone’s health, as it promotes immunity, functionality and general happiness.

Blogger and fitness star Leanne Moore has started offering free workouts on Instagram with her LIFT LIVE programme. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon, people can join Leanne for a fun, invigorating exercise session. 

Practice meditation or your own version of it

Mediation focuses on your mind, soothing it through deep breaths, introspection and inner serenity. It is an activity that puts everything on hold for a moment so you can recollect yourself.

For those who are new to mediation, there are all different types of apps available on most smartphones such as Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer and Simple Habit. 

Other online meditation outlets include Deepak Chopra’s free 21-Day Meditation Experience. During the programme, Deepak will guide listeners through a peaceful session of relaxation. 

You can find more information on Deepak’s meditation here.

If these do not work for you, there are other methods of mediation you can practice such as listening to music. Put on whatever song you want, sit back and focus on the melody. Let the song take you somewhere else.

Eat as healthy as you can

In times like these, junk food is the go-to snack or meal. Comfort food keeps us happy, but too much becomes detrimental to your physical and mental health, especially during this stressful coronavirus outbreak. 

Too much alcohol can cause you to feel more run-down as well. Excessive drinking can harm your immunity, making your body susceptible to more discomfort and illnesses.

Not keeping a steady intake of nutrients can lead to increased stress, fatigue, loss of motivation and even body image issues. It is normal to treat yourself with occasional sweets or drink, but eat them in moderation. Make them what they’re supposed to be: treats.

Former Miss Universe Ireland winner Rozanna Purcell has been cooking up healthy meals and snacks for enjoyment on Instagram. Some of her recipes include carrot cake, protein balls and soda bread.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Ok I’ve had a lot of sugar today and I’m talking to myself 😂 regardless I’m bringing you this UNREAL + EASY all in one CARROT CAKE but as a loaf it requires NO eggs or plain flour or buttermilk 👏🏻😂 it’s the new banana bread to tickle your tastebuds and get you busy in the kitchen this week! Since the brownie won for this weeks LIVE COOK A LONG this is for those who voted for carrot cake- 💙😭 INGREDIENTS •SERVES 12 slices• 220g whole meal flour (you can use plain here too but wholemeal it’s delish!) 100g brown soft sugar + 2 tbsp white sugar (you can sub coconut sugar but you need to add 160g) 1 tsp baking soda 1/3 tsp baking powder 1 .5 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp Nutmeg Zest of 1 Orange 150ml milk of choice + 2 tbsp AVC (apple cider vinegar) 100 ml olive oil or oil of choice 2 carrot peeled and grated 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 large handful of Raisins *optional Preheat oven to 180•C line a 1/2 or 1lbs bread tin. In a large bowl combine the flour sand baking agents and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients into a batter. Line a small bread tin and spoon in your mix . Bake for 50 min. Let cool fully. For the icing Sieve 200g icing sugar to a bowl with 2 tbsp Luke warm water and mix smooth. Pour over the cooled loaf ( do not try this with a hot loaf!) Sprinkle with 50g chopped walnuts. Enjoy! 🥕🥕🥕💙 #carrotcakerecipe #vegancarrotcake #naturalbornfeeder

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Find activities to do indoors

Your mind might be taking a vacation, but that can only last for so long. This is the perfect time to take up an activity or hobby you have always wanted to try out.

Learning instruments, writing, drawing, making videos or even testing new recipes will help pass the time and clear your head. An occupied brain will help spike your productivity and confidence in your abilities.

Get your news from reputable sources but look sparingly 

It may be distressing to watch the statistics of the coronavirus, but it is useful information as long as you watch in moderation. Being cautious and knowledgeable on the signs and symptoms will only benefit you and your household.

Too much focus on the news may cause panic, but looking on occasion and from reliable outlets will keep you in the loop. Overdoing an intake on statistics and facts can negatively impact your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Find sources with correct information such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation (WHO). These will present accurate, updated articles and facts on what to look out for and what people should do.

To see advice on self-isolation from WHO, click here.

Steer clear of negativity 

Being alone is already a negative impact on people, but added negativity will cause more damage. As said before, finding reputable news sources will help you stay informed. The problem is indulging too much in it.

Whether negative influences come from the news or general unhappiness with the situation, there are solutions. Take your mind on a vacation while you can. Try new hobbies or forget the bad and bring in the good.

Those who have busy jobs or those who are experiencing a lack of a routine should understand that this will not last forever. Instead, they can establish a ‘quarantine routine’ to cope with the current dilemma. Once this social distancing period ends, their old regimen can start back up.

One way to welcome positivity is by watching funny videos or tv shows on YouTube, Netflix, Disney + or TikTok. These will rest the mind and give viewers something to laugh at.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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permission to snuggle up with one of these and a mountain of snacks: GRANTED

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Communicate with friends and family via Skype, Facetime and video chatting software

Humans are social creatures, even if some are more introverted than others. Having someone to talk to is a necessity for all people. By using apps and programmes such as Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp or Zoom, just to name a few, people can continue communicating with each other.

While this is not the same as a physical interaction, seeing faces and chatting with them allows you to feel like it is a normal conversation. Discuss what is stressing you out, and listen to the other person’s worries. Being a trusted confidante for others can improve your mood and help you feel productive.

Contact mental health services

Whether you or someone else has a diagnosed mental issue, there are many organisations that have changed their services to suit the Covid-19 situation. Online support and phone calls make communication and meetings much easier.

The Limerick Mental Health Association (LMHA) has had to change its approach to the coronavirus outbreak by implementing daily phone calls and texts to their clients.

The LMHA has been pushing forward positive mental health across Limerick since its establishment in 2002.

Claire Flynn, Project Manager at the LMHA, discussed how the organisation is helping its members, saying, “Our phone lines are open for anyone in need of peer support. We have decided to start telephoning people directly ourselves instead of waiting for them to call us.”

“By keeping in touch, people will know they can still rely on us, even if it’s just for a chat,” Claire said.

To further the service, the LMHA is looking into online groups for more support and contact. Puzzles, tea, colouring books and more activities will be sent as care packages for their members as well.

Claire said, “In times like this, people are more isolated. We all have a heightened sense of anxiety, but people with mental health issues have it hard and it can even get worse.”

“Anyone who needs help, wants to share their experiences or just wants someone to chat is encouraged to contact the LMHA. Remember that this isn’t going to last forever.”

Other Mental health supports include Pieta House, MyMind, Aware, Turn2me, BelonGTo and Childline

 

 
 
 
 
 
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For more information on the LMHA, click here.

For more stories on mental health, click here.

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