Covid-19: Constant barrage of information on social media can impact mental health

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of billions across the globe. Never before in our lifetimes have we seen such a massive disaster, and the impact it has had on the mental balance of people is devastating. Most people have been taking to social media to keep themselves aware of the developments, however, the over indulgence is negatively impacting their mental health. The Free Press Journal caught up with Pawan Sony, a certified queer affirmative therapist, ADC, MHTP, who provides tips on how to battle the pandemic and maintain one's sanity.

What is the impact on mental health due to the Covid-19 pandemic?

It’s massive. There is wide spread trauma and anxiety. People are very unsure about the future. They are feeling unsafe about their own lives and that of their loved ones. Such widespread trauma is happening for the first time in our lifetimes. Perhaps the last time something like this happened, it was during the partition. Its complete impact would be known only in the years to come.

How can one cope with the stress of being restricted inside the house?

Keep yourself distracted. Read, listen to music, watch tv, talk to friends, family, (and not just about the pandemic), gossip, stand up comedy, anything else that you might enjoy. Pray, meditate, take time for rest. If you are working from home, try and maintain a work life balance. Take frequent breaks. Create a personal space.

What exercises can one do to stay alert during a lockdown?

Do whatever works for you. Yoga is wonderful, but if you prefer anything else, go for it.

What impact does social media have on the mental balance of a person?

For people who live alone or for introverts or for people with social anxiety, social media may be the only way to stay connected. It can do a lot of good for people, making them feel that they are not alone. As we are seeing, people are getting help in terms of oxygen or hospital beds through social media. At the same time, the constant barrage of information can be very overwhelming. Hatred, getting trolled can also play havoc with one’s mental health. So what’s needed is a judicious use of social media rather than dissing it altogether.

Should one avoid watching television news channels during such times?

I think it depends. There are people who feel very uncomfortable if they don’t watch news. In uncertain times, it makes them even more uncertain. At the same time, the sensationalising plays havoc with mental health. So once again, I would say, a judicious use might do the trick.

Any remedies you would like to suggest to overcome anxiety issues in these testing times?

Take one day at a time- that’s the big mantra. And when even that gets too overwhelming, take it one hour at a time. Focus on what you can control. Even if it’s the smallest thing. Small steps lead to big results.

How important is getting a full quota of sleep to stay mentally fit?

Getting a full quota of sleep is very important. At the same time, don’t believe in myths like ‘the body needs eight hours of sleep’. Everyone’s needs are different.

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Free Press Journal