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Beating the COVID-19 stress

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Covid-19 caught the world unawares and has taken a significant toll on not just our physical but mental well-being as well. We have been struggling relentlessly for over a year now, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to keep ourselves afloat. The constant feeling of fear, helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness is causing anxiety, depression, and panic attacks among people. Right from school-going kids to the elderly, everyone is going through emotional turmoil. It is important for us to acknowledge these feelings of despair and consider them as normal under the current circumstances. As a mental health professional, I would like to suggest some tips to keep our anxiety levels at bay.

  1. Take a break from the news: Keeping ourselves aware of the current affairs is important but we should try not to get addicted to checking the news every now and then. This addiction may elevate our stress levels and further increase our anxiety. Hence, let us try and limit ourselves from doing so.

  2. Practice gratitude: With so much grim news floating around, it’s natural to feel depressed and helpless. Practicing gratitude fills us with good vibes and hope. We all know that there is always “something” to be grateful for, no matter how miserable we may feel. The conscious practice of gratitude works like magic in dissipating the feeling of depression and anxiety.

  3. Maintain a healthy routine: Engaging in regular exercise and healthy eating and sleeping habits will help immensely in keeping the mind sane. Adding a 10 minutes meditation routine to this will work wonders for our mental health. There are a lot of guided-meditation apps and videos to choose from.

  4. Talk therapy: Since we all are in the same boat of isolation and uncertainty, it is good to connect with friends and family from time to time. We may be helpful in counselling and supporting each other to alleviate the stress and fear.

  5. Trust the doctors: We must only trust the medical doctors and not rely on google or self-proclaimed experts giving out free advice on every social media platform. We are a vulnerable lot right now. In the quest to find a cure or preventive method for covid 19, we are ready to follow anything coming our way through social media without verifying it. Let us not compromise on our common sense, no matter how tempted we feel.

  6. Seek professional help: It’s always a good idea to speak to a mental health expert who can provide personal counselling to help alleviate our anxiety and depressive feelings. There are times when we may need a tailor-made approach to help us regain our mental well-being.

We need to adopt an approach as described by the Stockdale Paradox [1], in which one embraces the harsh reality with healthy optimism that is rooted in realism. Thus we feel positive about our commitment to take all the right actions to get out of difficult times yet be fully aware of the consequences if we do not.

[1]: Stockdale Paradox: Why confronting reality is vital to success


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