Pride Conference

The Coronavirus Pandemic and your Mental Health

The present pandemic is not without its accompanying ills.

We need a public health education campaign on the importance of mental health, designed to help awareness of the reality of mental illness and the need to look after or mental health.

The current Corona virus pandemic and its ramifications possess the potential to severely impact mental health.

What does the term “mental health” mean to you?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being, in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

In the Merriam–Webster lexicon, mental health is defined as, “a person’s condition, with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”. In short, mental health is how you think and feel about your own life.

  • Don’t shake hands
  • Don’t hug.
  • Social distance

These messages have been repeated during the pandemic like a broken record as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19/

Thus it is that for a few months now we may not have hugged our friends and family.

Some of us may have found this really hard to deal with.

Worse for those who live alone. Positive physical touch is therapeutic because it can make us feel good. It boosts levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that promote mental well-being, is involved in bonding, and can help reduce stress.

  • Trying to get to grips with the twists and turns of this pandemic and navigate the uncertainties can certainly affect mental health and wellness, with serious long-term consequences.
  • Mental health is no discriminator of persons; it affects all of us irrespective of our social status.
  • This important aspect of our overall well-being is neglected, stigmatized and even dismissed.
  • As humans, we are loath to discuss our mental health with each other.
  • As we continue to live under the indefinite constraints of lock down, due to the pandemic, it is important to realise that we need each other, more than ever.
  • The pandemic has disrupted our social connections, which is built into our daily lives; hence it is, of utmost importance that we try to figure out how to tweak our social connections so that we are not disconnected.
  • In the current situation it is important to evaluating and monitor our mental health.
  • Your mental health is directly connected to your physical health, your job and your overall satisfaction with your own life, your relationships, your work and your overall satisfaction with your own life.

So how can we cope with a lack of touch?

There are many ways to promote mental health and well-being even in the absence of a hug or physical contact.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine highlights six areas that will help to you with your mental health.

  • Sleep,
  • Nutrition
  • Social connectedness
  • Exercise
  • Avoid substance abuse including excessive alcohol use
  • Stress management. Stress management techniques that use breathing or relaxation may be a way to nurture your body when touch and hugs aren’t available.

Staying in touch with friends and loved ones can increase oxytocin and reduce stress by providing the social support we all need during physical distancing.

Written by Christopher  Chukwu

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