Staying Sane in the COVID-19 Era

There are so many articles in print and online currently that it is difficult to disseminate all the available messaging. This being stated, a singular topic that touches us all regardless of age, gender or profession is that of mental health. This column is intended as a means by which to synthesize that information.

According to the World Health Organization commonly referred to as WHO; ‘the rapid spread of the COVID-19 has largely affected the psychology of people, as many are concerned about themselves and their loved ones. However, there are ways to minimize stress, and get through this situation as best as possible’. My top 5 list from WHO guidelines are as follows;

1. It is normal to feel sad

2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

3. Get the facts

4. Listen to your kid(s)

5. Keep regular routines 

While these may seem intuitive, they are not. This is especially true when aa person is under great stress. Stress can have a wide range of effects on the human body as well as a person’s behavior. It can affect anyone, and it is found in all aspects of life. How stress affects the body often depends on each individual person and any underlying health conditions, although it can affect almost any part of the body. Excessive stress negatively impacts a person’s behavior and their health. Therefore, it is necessary that we manage it as an effective means of preventing its psychological and physiological impact.

Stress management activities may include physical exercise and relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding too much caffeine and alcohol, and quitting smoking when applicable. In some cases, seeking help from a doctor is needed in order to control the effect stress is having on the body. When stress and its symptoms are unmanageable, a doctor can determine if there is another treatment for your symptoms. 

I do have advice of my own to offer which is based perhaps on too much television watching when I was a child. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorite quotes and it is from the immortal Fred Rogers of ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood’ fame.

‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me; look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.’

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