COVID-19 and Mental Health: Implications of Pandemic and What You Can Do About it

The current pandemic has affected our society in unimaginable ways. People lost their jobs and livelihood, essential prices have gone up, normal outdoor activities are now being done under strict precautionary measures, and the uncertainty of our future hangs in the balance.

Such external factors, understandably, can take its toll on our mental health. Since the amount of stress that the COVID-19 pandemic is truly overwhelming, it is understandable that we look for outlets to help us relieve and overcome these.

These following examples describe the mental health implications of the pandemic, and the healthy ways of dealing with them. Of course, it is always the rule of thumb to consult a professional during such stressful times but take these tips as a corresponding guide for a lighter outlook during these challenging times.

They say that the very first thing that you should do when faced with a problem should be to compose yourself, and to brace for impact. Problems, whether big or small, may initially blindside us to possible solutions.

The current pandemic is no different. You worry about contracting the virus, your loved ones getting infected whenever they have outdoor errands, or that this pandemic would last until next year. -

The thing about overly worrying is that it terrifies you, to the point of being weakened by it. This is why worrying affects our mentality. It eats us up from the inside, an unforeseeable enemy that we can’t seem to grasp or understand.

Of course, the current pandemic provides us with a difficult adversary in the form of COVID-19. However, as with all adversaries, there is always a way to fight them off, and in the case of the current pandemic, no other deflection would be more efficient than prevention.

Prevention will always be better than cure. As with COVID-19, there isn’t even a literal cure or vaccine just yet, which is why the most formidable solution would be to follow the safety guidelines provided by our government, and our health experts.

Instead of living in fear, do your best to protect yourself and your loved ones from the pandemic, One of the most effective ways of dealing with dread and worry is to stay active. Exert your efforts towards other things that may require your full attention, like your family, your work or business. Doing everything to abide by the safety precautions, for example, would not only reduce your worry, it would also lower the likelihood of you and your loved ones from contracting the virus.

Ever heard of the phrase “too much of anything good can also be bad for you?” That’s true in all aspects of life. Social media, when used or consumed in a well-balanced manner, can do wonders for you. It can keep you connected to friends and loved ones during the pandemic, when much of our daily activities have been limited for precautionary reasons.

But the thing about social media content is that it’s very much like your favorite brand of chocolate; sweet, delicious, and can become a huge health hazard when taken in uncontrolled amounts. While many of us prefer to watch dance videos, cooking tutorials, and animated series online, there are also those that prefer to watch the news programs to remain updated on current events, as well as pandemic-related news. Being up to date, however, may come with some repercussions on your mental health, as you may end up consuming more negative information than you may have bargained for.

Being “in-the-know” would help you in protecting yourself against the infective virus (observing social distancing measures, always carrying a portable bottle of alcohol, etc.), but being flooded with constant news on cases and casualties may take its toll on your morale in the process. Be sure to control your social media intake, and limit yourself to only those content that would be beneficial for you and your loved ones. Avoid reading or watching too many flash reports if you’re already feeling too much load on your shoulders.

You may divert your attention towards other lighthearted and uplifting news. We know that good news and feats of amazing stories are harder to come across nowadays, but there will always be a ray of light amongst the darkness. You can be better off consuming content on pets, plants, and art versus reading about alarming current events.

You may not be able to control the influx of news about the pandemic, but you can filter the information that you receive and read about. There are other sections in your social media apps that can direct you towards these “wholesome and lighthearted” news, if you know where to look.

Everything seems to be falling apart. Extreme weather conditions, political turmoil, and updates about the pandemic dominate the headlines. It’s a seemingly endless barrage of problems that you fret over, and you have no idea when and how these concerns will ever die down. Amidst all these concerns are the thoughts inside your head. You are worried, confused as to why all of these are happening.

The first step towards adopting a more constructive stance against these concerns is to acknowledge that these issues are indeed happening right now. It is what it is, and there is nothing you can do about it at this point, other than to accept reality.

Now, after acknowledging the problems, the next step would be to hold on to that little ray of light inside you. At the risk of sounding like a self-help book, do not give up hope that everything will be resolved in time. Our circumstances may not look good at the moment, and there may be things that look awry at first glance, but the inner strength and life lessons you can gather along the way may prove to be worth the experience.

Think of this journey as a really tough obstacle course - despite the challenges that you underwent, there will always be a finish line. And what a rewarding ending it can be.

Don’t just focus on the current situation. Be motivated and prepared to fight against the risk of the pandemic by following the prescribed safety measures. Eat healthy, include fruits and vegetables in your diet, take care of your body through regular exercise, and find a new hobby that can keep you preoccupied until the pandemic finally settles down.

There’s nothing much that we can do at this point, other than to weather the storm. Now that you actually have the time, settle all of the things that you haven’t taken care of before the pandemic began, and take deliberate steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and insured against all of the physical, mental, and financial risk brought about by the current economic turmoil. You can consider applying for insurance, as that can help with your financials in case something goes wrong unexpectedly.

Allianz PNB Life offers their Allianz Well!, an insurance service which provides health and wellness benefits for achievers and go-getters like you! It features an annual plan limit of Php 100 Million, supplements any existing HMOs you may have, gives you health coverage that complements your active lifestyle, and fully covers in-patient hospitalization for COVID-19, as well as unlimited telemedicine consultation with accredited doctors. Think of it as all-in-one insurance, fit for your active lifestyle. You may check out Allianz PNB Life for more information.
DOH: COVID-19 Guidelines Social Media and Mental Health