May 22, 2024

Anxiety, loneliness, and worry are usual reactions to pandemics and other conditions that affect our routine and so-called new normal activities. Studies have shown that doctors who treat patients with the Covid-19 develop symptoms like anxiety, depression, inability to sleep or insomnia, and distress. Patients who become acutely-ill are likewise prone to develop similar symptoms. Even in the general population, these symptoms can occur. 

Among the sources of psychiatric disturbances are:

1. Exposure to persons infected with the Covid-19;

2. Quarantine, physical isolation, reduced freedom; 

3. Lack of medical care and testing;

4. Increased workloads;

5. Lack or shortage of personal protective equipment, food, and shelter; and

6. Excessive media exposure and reports about the virus and ill-effects of the disease.

Here are ways you can do to take care of your mental health:

1. Communicate with your friends, family, and relatives often. Create small group chats. Reach out to long lost friends and relatives. These measures will make you feel less lonely and less isolated. 

2. Maintain a healthy balanced diet. Too much carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish and sleepy during day time. This can contribute to a change in sleeping habits and may aggravate insomnia. 

3. Do regular exercises. Explore new steps. There are exercise videos that can be followed at home. There are starter sessions as short as 10 to 20 minutes.

4. Explore activities that you might enjoy like cooking or gardening. Resume old hobbies that you neglected during your busy days. Plant a tree and watch it grow. Nurture a plant. Get a pet and be amazed by how much it can love you back, unconditionally.

5. Follow guidelines on physical distancing, wearing of mask, and use of sanitizers or alcohol. Avoid crowds and stay at home if you can. These measures will reduce your anxiety about getting contaminated with the virus.

6. A lot of people who get infected with the virus eventually recover, so do not panic. 

7. Call a healthcare provider or seek consult if your work or daily activities are altered by anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and other symptoms. Counseling and medications will be helpful. 

8. Understand that the purpose of quarantine is to prevent you from being exposed to potential sources of infection and if you happen to have the virus, observe quarantine so you can help keepother people safe. 

9. Choose what you watch on TV and on the Internet. Choose movies or shows that make you feel good or make you see the innate goodness in human beings. 

10. Avoid listening, reading, or watching too much news about the virus and about world conflicts. Avoid watching channels that may give you the feeling that the world is hopeless.Conflict is everywhere, the world is doomed and that war is just at the bend. 

11. Most of all, pray and believe in the Supreme Being whose hand guides everything that happens in the world.

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Medical questions and concerns and suggested topics may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected]. Answers will be provided in the column or will be emailed.