In times of unexpected uncertainty, such as the sudden appearance of a global pandemic like COVID-19, people have been facing a lot of mental health issues.
Get all your queries related to mental health answered by Dr Harish Shetty here:
What is the impact on mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
It has affected the emotional rhythm and the mind-body orchestra of the populace in different intensities depending upon the resilience of the person, social support available, economic state and pre-existing mental illness. Fear, anxiety, depression, Insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorders are common issues seen.
How important is getting a full quota of sleep to stay mentally fit?
Sleep helps immunity and mental health. Disturbance in the rhythm and quantity will cause irritability, fear, poor concentration and if it continues can cause depression along with lifestyle physical diseases. Forcible sleep deprivation will cause burn out and is worse than Insomnia
How can one cope with the stress of being restricted inside the house?
Look at the sun, moon, sky, birds and feel the breeze. Fear can cause numbness and increases isolation. It also causes apathy. Little tasks inside the house help break the monotony. Chat with friends and talk about everything except covid. Covid chats for 10 mins a day only. Seek laughter, joy with online friends and family. Feed hope and positivity to your brain daily early in the morning when u start your day and just before you sleep. Kids can play inside the house, chat with friends. Protect the health of kids by not pressurizing them about future and studies. Exercise, yoga helps.
What exercises can one do to stay alert during a lockdown?
Walking, Surya namaskar, situps, weights and spot jogging can help. Seek the advice of the doctor and don't overdo it.
What impact does social media have on the mental balance of a person?
Social media is a double-edged sword. It helps if used judiciously. One can help others with life-saving information and meaningless anxiety-provoking forwards need to be avoided. Govt protocols can be passed to friends. Sharing jokes help. Using it for sharing hobbies, wishing birthdays spreads cheer. Duration of Social media use needs to be curtailed. Avoid screens much before sleeping. As you get up pick up the brush, not the phone
Should one avoid watching the news during such times?
Yes! Channels are fear-mongering and exaggerating the negatives. Cut news completely except seeing the govt protocols and releases for 10 minutes per day only. It's addictive to watch sensational news buy switch your tv s off.
Any remedies you would like to suggest to overcome anxiety issues in these testing times?
Self-talk of realistic positive information, relaxation exercises, sharing one's fears with loved ones or a counsellor, looking at facts and not fake news will help. If need be small doses of medicines and/or counseling can help
( Dr Harish Shetty MD ( Psychiatry) has extensive experience in working among victims of various disasters. )