Coping with post-pandemic mental health issues

Don't forget to drink water and get some sun. You're basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.

Malti was a feisty 16-year-old girl. She was at the top of her class, be it sports, dramatics or quizzes- she always managed to be second to none. She found joy in her life which allowed her to partake and excel in various activities. Then one fine day, a notorious virus took hold of the world- stealthily flexing its muscles and getting a tighter grasp on humans over time.

Malti's world was thrown into disarray as she stood robbed of the adrenaline, the rush that governed her life.

For some two years, she managed to indulge in a few of those activities virtually, but the feeling of missing out on the physical experience bogged her down.

Those two years were an inexplicable long struggle for her but she hoped to get better after the easing of restrictions. Thankfully, the injunctions did eventually die out but sadly, not her trepidations.

Even while in the company of her cohort, which for the longest time she had a hankering for, she found herself overcome with anxiety and some uncanny uneasiness.

Let's face it- we all see a shadow of ourselves in Malti's story. You might not have been a student, but you were a home-maker or a daily-wage earner or a happily retired employee, and then the pandemic came in as the great equalizer making us all struggle- some more than others.

The physical and economic struggles were glaringly obvious but what didn't receive the attention it merited or on occasions, got swept under the carpet was the issue of Mental Health.

It's no vacuous talk. It has been underscored in various reports by several organizations of renown. ( See- )

Loneliness, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders inter alia are the issues infringing upon a person's mental stability.

Folks, the intent is not to scare you off by quibbling about mind-boggling statistics and facts. We want you to know that you are not the only one struggling with these issues and looking for ways to cope with them.

In fact, it's not all gloom and doom. With the right steps, you can heal yourself. Here's a curated list of ways by which you can tread the path of self-recovery.

1. Counselling- Treatment differs with the type of mental disorder, but almost always involves psychiatric counseling. Sometimes medication may be prescribed as well.

2. Physical Self Care- Physical and mental health are inextricably intertwined. Eat food that makes you feel good about yourself. Several studies have proven that excess amounts of sugar-loaded and deep-fried grubs are pro-inflammatory and induce hormones that can make you sad.

In the interest of being alive and kicking, it is imperative to have some sort of physical workout as part of your routine. Yoga, jogging, walking- really anything that gets you your endorphin dose can boost your health.

On the subject of physical health, sleep is perhaps the dark horse. Sleep is the very warp and weft of a sane lifestyle. Make sure you never compromise on it. There could be days when you would never want to leave your bed. It's okay. Give yourself that because it will then help you find days where you can accomplish all your tasks efficiently.

3. Social Self Care- Social relations were essentially the dearest aspect of our lives which was atrociously snatched from us by the lockdown and now we all realize their worth. In fact, connections are often the basis of lasting happiness. You want to connect with yourself – your spirit, emotions, intellect – your friends, and your family. You may want connections with people, with animals, or with the natural world. Connections are at the core of happiness and must be cherished at all costs.

4. Spiritual Self-Care- It is not necessarily related to religion. Whether or not you believe in God, you would at least be subscribing to the presence of forces and powers that are bigger and greater than us. Connecting with them, in your own little ways is a sure-shot way to recharge your soul. It could take the form of meditation, praying, and religious service.

5. Mental Health Care- Our neurons have a big role to play in how we feel. Make sure you keep yourself mentally stimulated. It can include playing puzzles, quizzes, and doing activities that inspire you and fuel your mind.

6. Emotional Self Care- The purpose of the aforementioned steps is to ultimately help you connect with your individuality and respect it. You should respect yourself enough to form healthy boundaries in all your relationships. Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings regularly and safely.

Our concluding words are those of solidarity, of acknowledgment of your ordeals. You deserve to take your own time to recuperate. There is no health without mental health and there is no shame in seeking its treatment.

This post is part of the weekly blog series under Project Samvedna .

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