Pandemic and Mental Health

Why is this pandemic triggering mental health issues?

Uncertainity; when we encounter the unknown, we project scenarios into that space, based on our past experiences. We become scared and unsettled when we have an experience of ‘incongruence’ in the environment.
A lot of different information being fed to us; be honest and congruent with your own emotions and act as external regulator for yourself and others.
The onset of the pandemic can activate our nervous systems, switching the thought process from ‘living’ to ‘surviving.’ It can also trigger feelings of helplessness, hopelesness, despair and increased health anxiety. Fear for loved ones, decreased financial security and lack of physical connection can create a sense of loneliness and internal chaos and emergence of existing mental health issues.

Activating Vagus Nerve

  • Take deep breaths
  • Cold water on your face
  • Movement for activation and stimulation of the nervous system; stretching, walks, games with children- moving pro-actively and with intention, dancing, singing, humming, chanting
  • Pushing on your head, arms, legs to remind yourself that you’re here, in your body, wrap yourself in a blanket, push yourself (gently) against the wall, against the bed, rubbing the sides of your neck combining it with a deep breath
  • Connecting with others; finding ways to experience safe, close relationships
  • Strucure/routine/sense of congruence
  • You are safe; say it out loud
  • OK to feel panic right now

Stay off social media. Or at least limit your exposure. There is no escaping the coronavirus online. Take this time to re-connect with your family, friends and nature! Or read a book. Listen to the facts. The best thing you can do right now, is find the real facts. Listen to trusted local sources or major news stations. Ignore the hype. There are people out there trying to make bank on the hysteria, selling fake ‘cures’ and misinformation. So stick with the facts. There are also plenty of people that feed off this type of drama and on your fear. If someone is trying to scare you by telling you that the virus is taking over the world and we are all going to turn into zombies, just walk away. Let it out. If talking about how you’re feeling helps, let out your fears and worries to your friends and family. Just don’t let it consume you. See next tip! Try a distraction. Get your mind off of what’s happening by focusing on other things. It could be a hobby, a new work project or meditation. Keep in contact. Stay in contact with your friends and family through text and phone calls! Don’t isolate yourself completely! Get outside. The sunshine, the fresh air and change of scenery are sure to make you feel a little better! Make sure you head outside for at least a half an hour most days! Go for a hike, sit in your yard or start a gardening project! Take proper precautions. Prepare yourself for the pandemic, by stocking up on necessities, avoiding public places, frequent hand-washing, and proper hygiene. Take care of yourself both mentally and physically. I always feel better when I’m prepared! And if you feel yourself getting depressed, seek medical help! You might need some medication or to speak to a progressional about your options! This will pass and when it does, you’ll have a new found appreciation for the simple things- the hand shake of your elderly neighbours, the small talk during school pick up, and kind faces at the grocery store and stocked shelves. Things will go back to normal.

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