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How to take care of mental health during quarantine

Psychologists and wellness experts from the city talk about ways in which adults and teenagers can take care of their mental health during an uncertain period like this. Channel your energy towards building a stronger, more balanced, and healthier life than ever, they suggest

How to take care of mental health during quarantine
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Chennai

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily life and has created a lot of stress and anxiety. When things are uncertain around us, we don’t feel safe and it’s normal to feel stressed. Psychologists and wellness experts talk to us on how to beat stress and why one should prioritse their mental wellbeing during a crisis period. Even if you stay in isolation or maintain social distancing, the best thing one can do is to stay emotionally connected with family and friends.


Ishani Vellodi Reddy, a prominent wellness consultant from Chennai, says, “We’re all in the midst of a tough situation right now, and there is a palpable sense of anxiety, even for those of us who aren’t usually prone to it. Our lives have been disrupted, we’re spending significantly more time at home, and we’re all a little unsure of what’s yet to come. The important thing is to accept that it’s normal to feel unsettled right now and to know that most of us are experiencing the same thing in varying degrees. Right now, the single most important thing you can do is to build a routine so that you can find some sense of normalcy amid the chaos. It’s also equally important to build opportunities to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, into that routine. For example, if you’re working from home, take planned short breaks at regular intervals to stretch, journal, or meditate. Also, make sure you have at least 30 minutes of physical activity or movement built into your day. Though this is an uncertain time, it’s also an unprecedented opportunity to rethink your existing habits and work on creating new, healthier ones. Channel your energy towards working on coming out of this stronger, more balanced, and healthier than ever.”


Psychologist Nikita Vyas opines that at a time like this it’s important to not react immediately to every piece of news that comes our way, especially on social media. “Be available to talk to people if they’re in a state of panic; comfort them or listen to what they feel. At a time like this, communication matters a lot and has a huge effect on our mental health. Whether it’s virtual, over the phone or in-person, be careful as to how you communicate and receive any kind communication. Try to help each other through comforting messages, affirmations and good thoughts instead of news reports. Be kind and gentle while communicating with one another. It’s a very sensitive time and can harm someone’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Sometimes, it’s best to just listen instead of advising. You have to understand that the way you deal with the situation will also impact the people around you. It’s very easy to panic and one must resort to a lot of breathwork (breathing techniques) which will help calm yourself. Practising self-care is the utmost priority right now before you take care of anyone else. Divert your mind and do things that lift your mood like cooking, mediation, listening to music, watching movies, etc. Doing things that make you happy is meditative and will help you stay optimistic as well. Eat right and sleep well. Remember that this is just a phase — go about your regular lifewhile maintaining the necessary precautions,” says Nikita.


Journalling also helps maintain mental and emotional wellbeing if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable talking to other people. “Journalling is something I always recommend and practise personally. Create a virtual support group for your loved ones where you can send each other messages that’ll help comfort. You could also share important numbers and information so it can make your daily life easy. Don’t interact with people who might scare you or create panic. It’s alright to distance yourself from such people. Don’t stay aloof and be afraid to reach out to your loved ones if you’re scared or feel uneasy. The only thing is to remember to talk to people who’ll comfort you,” she remarks.

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