Your mental health during Covid-19 and the lockdown

Covid-19 also impacts your mental health

These are very strange times we find ourselves in.  It is unchartered territory.  With the announcement of the lockdown a lot of people lost their livelihood overnight.  Others still have an income but find themselves lost being stuck at home.  Others still need to face the dangers as essential workers and risk exposure on the frontline.

It doesn’t matter what group you fall under you will most probably still experience emotional turmoil that is difficult to explain.  You may feel lost, overwhelmed and scared.  Even people who are used to working from home are having trouble coping.  Motivation seems to be lacking as the whole world is in limbo.

Normally when we are faced with danger we rely on our instincts and our minds reacts in one of two ways, fight or flight.  But what we have here is a unique situation.  We cannot fight this pandemic in the traditional sense.  There is no lion that we can see, no bad guy that we can defend ourselves from or run away from.  So what is left?  Freeze! All we can do is freeze, we can stay put and hope for a cure or a vaccine.

Staying put gives rise to a lot of emotional problems because our bodies and minds are not wired that way.  We want action, and staying put, freezing goes against our instincts.  So what happens?  We become stuck.

Emotionally this is a big problem.  Feelings are all over the place.  You might be experiencing any of the following:

There are however some things that you can try to do to combat some of these feelings:

  • Try to follow a daily routine.  This will give you some structure.
  • Connect with others over social media, Skype or WhatsApp especially if you are living alone.  It will combat some of the feelings of loneliness.  If you live with family try spending some quality time with them and finding activities to do together at home.
  • Every day try to do something.  Even baking a cake can give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Try to get in some activity even if it is just running on the spot or doing some stretching.  Exercise is essential to your mental health.
  • Learn a new skill.  Learning something new can boost your confidence and feeling of self-worth.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms or any other mental health issues not mentioned here remember to speak up.  You are not alone.  People all over the world are in crises at the moment.

There are a lot of resources at your disposal like SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) also launched a LIVE Facebook Expert Q&A at 1pm – 2pm daily where you can speak to a mental health professional live on their Facebook page.

There are also helplines available that you can call like LifeLine South Africa who has a toll free 24/7 counselling line – 0861 322 322.

I am also available for online counselling sessions.  Visit our contact page for more information on how to book a session.

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