In the face of the current global health crisis, those suffering from mental health issues are likely facing a difficult time in their lives as nearly 10.5 million people have been directly affected by COVID-19.

Additionally, lockdown and curfew measures implemented by national and local governments all over the world have further led to a drastic deterioration in the mental health of millions. Other factors like loss of income, the threat of unemployment—which in the United States alone has risen from 3.8% in February to 13% in May—and the rising fear of contracting the virus, have exacerbated underlying mental health issues.

Such uncertain social and economic conditions are very effective triggers to people who suffer from mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. However, there are any ways to help manage, mitigate, and reduce the symptoms associated with these disorders.

Common Symptoms of Mental Illness

Since lockdown restrictions in many areas of the country are still in effect, those suffering from mental illnesses may be unable to rely on their families and loved ones for support as they are required to practice self-isolation. For these reasons, it is essential to validate any negative feelings or thoughts and try your best to control them.

This is why it is important to keep an eye out for any possible symptoms of mental illness. If not addressed in time, these symptoms can lead to potential self-harm, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and other problems.

In fact, the global lockdowns caused by COVID-19 have already influenced certain socio-economic factors, such as domestic abuse. The United States has experienced its domestic abuse rate increase by 14% to 35% in the months preceding March 2020. France also saw a rise of 4%, followed by the UK with a 2% increase.

Consider if the following symptoms currently affect you, or have affected you in recent months:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • New chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increase in use of addictive substances

However, it is worth noting that no depression phases are alike. Symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on many factors; some of which are age, financial standing, emotional needs, and social background.  

Counter Anxiety And Stress

Stress, anxiety, and depression can get the best of anybody. From renowned celebrities to our friends and family – no one is immune to mental health issues.

The key to protecting your peace of mind is to actively protect it from possible triggers. Here are some tips on how you can safeguard your mental health during stressful times:

  • Keep yourself informed in moderation: Feel free to use TV or social media to keep yourself updated on daily developments. But remember not to overdo it. Prolonged exposure to negative news can potentially aggravate anxiety and depression.
  • Keep in touch:  Stay in contact with friends, family, and loved ones. In fact, it could do wonders for your wellbeing to have regular video calls with the people you hold close.
  • Help others: Helping others, such as opting to buy groceries for senior citizens in your community, helping someone pay their bills, volunteering your time at homeless shelters or donating blood plasma.
  • Manage your routine: Your routine significantly affects your mental state. A fresh, well-nourished mind is home to a happier soul. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, practice some breathing exercises (to stay calm), etc.
  • Maintain a journal: While it may sound cliché, documenting your challenges helps you counter them. So document all your fears, phobias, and emotions when you feel down.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help: Mental health problems can wear down the toughest of people. Contact your health care provider if it seems too overwhelming to counter your depressive symptoms.

Bottom Line

Even with global experts working around the clock on effective treatments and vaccines, estimates state we are still months away from results. Instead of waiting for normalcy to return, it’s time to adapt yourself to the new normal.

There is no need to confine yourself within your walls. Reach out to your friends and family. Set a healthy routine that allows you to relax while also removing negative thoughts. 

With a bit of hard work and dedication, you can effectively shield your brain from self-destructive thoughts. We are all in this together!