Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19! - Medshield

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Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19!

Posted in Medshield Wellness   |   April 8th, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are in lockdown or self-isolating, mental health could suffer. This Medshield blog article suggests some ways to stay healthy over this period.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating stress for the global population. Empty store shelves, fear about the disease and quarantine or self-isolation can negatively impact depression and anxiety. The mental health implications of this unprecedented situation will impact everyone differently. Global concern about coronavirus means it’s very important to keep the normal routine as much as possible when it comes to sleep, nutrition and exercise, particularly in people with existing mental health problems. In the current situation, finding ways to maintain your normal routine is essential to reducing stress and potential depressive thoughts that may appear.

Filter news and social media

Constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless and may exacerbate existing mental health problems. Be careful about the balance of watching important news and the news that could cause you to feel depressed and disrupt your mental health. Seek trusted information, such as the Department of Health, World Health Organization and Medshield Medical Scheme at specific times to take practical steps to protect yourself and loved ones. Have breaks from social media and mute triggering keywords and accounts.

Eat an ‘anti-depression diet’

Anxiety is likely to increase during the current crisis, but a well-nourished body is better at handling stress. Traditional Mediterranean food, sometimes referred to as the ‘anti-depression diet’, for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, includes whole grains, vegetables (particularly green leaves), fruit, berries, nuts (including almonds), seeds and olive oil to look after your mental health. 

Get therapeutic sleep

Ninety percent of depressed people struggle with sleep, which is likely to increase with fears over the coronavirus. Good quality sleep is a form of overnight therapy and increases the chance of handling strong emotions effectively. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Achieving eight hours of sleep, taking a hot bath, setting the bedroom temperature to 18°C and having no screen time two hours before bedtime will also help.

Exercise as a depression treatment

It is important to keep exercising. Clinical studies show that regular exercise produces chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy for treating milder depression. There will not be access to a gym during the crisis, so it is important to create a daily exercise routine at home. Experts recommend between 30-40 minutes of yoga or exercise,  three to four times a week to work up a sweat. People with depression often struggle with exercise, so start small with a 10 minutes of yoga, then add a few minutes of alternate exercise daily.

Image Credit : Getty Images

DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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