Covid19 being a physical health crisis has an impact on one’s mental health too, whether one is infected/affected or not. Taking care of one’s mental health at such a time as this is critical to the day to day functioning of an individual and a Society at large.

How do l know if my mental health is affected

I am…

  1. nervous most of the time
  2. irritable/ angry/ anxious
  3. Hopeless
  4. Having reduced appetite
  5. Inadequate sleep
  6. fatigued/ tired most of the time

The above are just but a few examples of what occurs when one is experiencing acute stress, a normal reaction to a stressful experience. This may vary from person to person and it’s normal for all of us to feel stressed. What matters is the steps we take to relieve this stress.

What can I do to take care of my mental health

Be informed but not overloaded. Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed.

Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit both the person receiving support and the helper. For example, check by telephone on neighbours or people in your community who may need some extra assistance.

Take care of your health. Try and use helpful healthy coping strategies such as ensuring sufficient rest, healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends. Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, as these can worsen your mental and physical well-being.

Add exercise to your daily routine. Learn simple daily physical exercises to perform at home, in quarantine or isolation so you can maintain mobility and reduce boredom.

Structure your day. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help create new ones in a new environment, including regular exercising, cleaning, daily chores, singing, dancing or other activities.

Keep in regular contact with loved ones (e.g. via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference).

Breathe the 4-7-8 technique when feeling stressed out. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8.

 Managing your mental health and psychosocial well-being during this time is as important as managing your physical health. Thus, to help Afya Pap is offering unlimited access to Call A Doc at such time as this. Click here to download the App: bit.ly/AfyaPap

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