Coronavirus, COVID 19, quarantine and lockdown are the words that are echoing all around us these days. In the increase in number of cases of COVID 19, the anxiety associated with this disease also takes a new jump.
Even before the outbreak of this virus, started somewhere from Wuhan, depression and anxiety have been noted as defining features of our times. Me time, isolation, uncertainty are not going to help us deal with the new realities of our newly virtual lives – virtual work, virtual schools and virtual family care – under the incredible stress of unfamiliar circumstances.
And of course we can’t just wait for one fine day to witness everything getting back to normal. Before that day, we have to make sure that we remain sane and healthy.
Seeking towards a more realistic approach, stress is a natural phenomenon, which is inevitable but can be minimized and eliminated. Following are the five facts about stress, there is virtually no disease, illness or injury that is not aided by good mental health.
- Scientists have demonstrated that both the structure of the brain and several memory functions are linked to immune system genes. Fresh evidence that the body’s immune system interacts directly with the brain could lead to a new understanding of diseases from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer. Instead of carrying blood, though, these vessels carry a clear fluid called lymph, which contains both immune cells and waste products. Hence proved our brains and our immune system are deeply linked.
- As told before, stress is normal and can be healthy but too much sustained stress is not. High and unregulated levels of stress have a number of negative consequences on the brain, immunity and the vascular system, leading to blood sugar imbalances, high blood pressure and impaired immunity and inflammatory responses. One of the things we need to fight the potential impact from COVID-19.
- Physical activity is a vital component of improving both physical and mental health. Regular exercise has been linked to changes in brain connectivity, and increases in brain growth factors. It also helps you to balance or decrease oxidative stress which damages cells and tissue.
- The first step to calm the multifaceted mind is to make it relax. For that purpose mindfulness and relaxation techniques play an eminent role. They can improve mood and sleep quality through enhancing control over the body’s arousal system, focus and can manage anxiety and concerns very well.
- We often consider our mental health at a least priority. But what we need to fathom is that investing in mental health pays long-lasting dividends. Studies have shown that future mental and physical health is related to previous investments in mental and physical health.
The point to ponder is that how do we put it all together? We have pen down 3 core habits that will help you to sustain a good mental hygiene to retaliate COVID 19.
1. Focus on small details, things and activities, no matter how small they are. Keep technology aside. Go outside and appreciate nature, give time to yourself, have a general talk with your family over evening’s cup of tea. We can all learn to be more flexible and have acceptance of what we can do with the present rather than what we cannot do.
2. Explore the opportunities that COVID 19 has opened for us online. Have an insight of the opportunities for meaningful social connection, mindfulness, self-care, distance learning, telemedicine and beyond. This is the best time to use all the tools to be more productive and efficient in every aspect.
3. Be more supportive and responsive to your community, family, neighborhood, work, society. Empower and encourage them to be optimistic and more vigilant. A recent US study has shown that the most effective public health messages in slowing the spread of COVID-19 are those that focus on considerations of duty and responsibility to family, friends, and fellow citizens, not just your own personal agenda.
This time is not just for individual action, in order to remain sane in this ‘new normal’ life we need to make collective actions. We have got this opportunity to turn into stronger and more resilient global community-in respect to both physical and mental hygiene.
This too shall pass!