Fear from Covid 19

Mental Health During a Pandemic

Maintaining mental health during a pandemic can be challenging. Fear, uncertainty, lack of control and the inability to meet your needs in the ways you have become used to, all have the potential to impact your mental health. The good news is that all these things are “figureoutable”.

Fear

Fear from Covid 19If you are living in fear, you are not living in the present. Fear is always an imagining of something in the future.

Mindfulness is often prescribed as an antidote to fear, because if you are present and focusing fully on what is around you it is impossible to be imagining what might happen tomorrow, next week or next month.

Logic is another useful strategy to reduce fear.

  • Is imagining all the awful possible outcomes of a pandemic serving you in being able to enjoy your day in peace?
  • Would you agree that most of the thing things you have previously worried about never actually happened?
  • What things in the future can you control?
    • Only yourself, right?
    • Therefore, what can you do now that might be beneficial in the future?
    • Let’s look at this as a practical example. Maybe you are a flight attendant and your fear is that you will never work again in the way you have worked before, your career is in the toilet, what will become of you?
      • Possibilities: the airline industry might resume after a few months and after a year or so could be just as it was before Covid-19; or maybe it won’t, what happens then? What can you do about that possibility right now?
        • You could remain fearful of the future or you could invest in a new set of skills that you can use if your worst-case scenario comes to fruition.
        • Boom! Suddenly your days can become filled with imaginings of all the positive possibilities out there, rather than all the terrifying things that might happen which you have no control over. 

Lack of Control

A pandemic is an opportunity for us to take a reality check and remember that we have a lot less control of our lives than we like to think we do. Normally we tend to live in a comfortable agreement with life that states: if I play by the rules, i.e. stay safe, work hard, be responsible, live healthily and be kind to others, my life will be predictable, and I’ll be OK.

We only have to look at someone who has lost a loved ones, had their home destroyed by a bushfire or a hurricane, or been struck down by a terminal illness, to know that is not a universal truth. At some point most people are severely impacted by something that they cannot control, so learning how to operate effectively under the law of control is a valuable practice.

The Law of Control

The law of control: The only thing I can control is myself.

There is absolutely no point allowing yourself to become upset by what you cannot control. Your response to anyone or any situation is what is important and that is something you do have  control over.

Learning to take up that control is one of the most beneficial skills you can learn,  but how do you do it? By learning to control your thoughts and your actions!

Feelings are the direct result of thoughts and actions. The more you think about doom and gloom and the end of the world the worse you will feel. The more you try to snuff out those thoughts with junk food, alcohol, drugs and any other unsuccessful  addictive behaviours the worse you will feel.

It’s not easy because if your negative thoughts have been running rampant in your mind anything that will give you some relief can seem worthwhile in the short term. You probably won’t be able to change destructive behaviours and destructive thinking overnight, but if you can decide upon how you want to feel and what you want to achieve you can gradually begin to line up your thoughts and behaviours with your desired outcomes.

  • Question: Will this thought/action get me what I want? No? .… so choose again.

Meeting your Needs

Love and BelongingIf you were actively managing your mental health prior to Covid-19 and some of the strategies you used to feel better have been removed from your repertoire, you can replace them with something else that meets the same need.

If you have a a high need for love and belonging it is particularly important to find new ways to stay connected with other people. You may not find Zoom meetings particularly satisfying and feel frustrated that you can’t meet your family and friends the ways you used to, but if you can keep an open mind, online get togethers  will help.

Meeting your need for success and acknowledgement (power), can be incredibly difficult during a pandemic if you’ve lost your job, or your business has been closed down. Many artists have taken to showcasing their work online,  for no money or to raise money for others. They may not receive money for their performances but the joy of performing, and the pleasure and support it brings others is still an important way for them to meet their need  for success and acknowledgement.

If you’ve lost your job, or you can’t operate your business what other ways are there for you to meet your need for success and acknowledgement? It could be something like focusing on a new goal e.g. losing weight, getting fit, giving up alcohol. It could be studying or creating something new, taking up a new hobby, renovating your house or garden. Only you can answer this question.

Identifying your Individual Needs

Everything we do every day is in an attempt to meet one or more of our five needs: survival, love and belonging, fun, freedom, and power (success and acknowledgement). We all have these needs to differing degrees, and our mental health is directly related to how successful we are in meeting those needs. Even during a pandemic there is still an enormous number of ways that most people can successfully meet their needs.

I’d love you to share some of the different ways you are meeting your needs during the Covid-19 crisis. Please share below in the comments section, you never know who you might be helping.

 

Thanks  for reading

 

Deb 🙂

 

 

 

13 Comments

  1. This is an exciting topic in your article! I also started in this pandemic quit insure, worried and losing my job just resulted in me losing that daily routine I had. A friend gave me a tip to exercise being grateful, so I would daily mention three things that I am thankful for in life. This changed my perspective, and I concentrated on the positives in my life like I get to spend time with my family more, I have got to fast in the month of Ramdhan in a way where the focus was on my personal growth.
    I have personally set new goals that I want to achieve during this period, like following online courses and learning thing that I wanted to know before.

    1. Well done Tuma it sounds like you have got through this challenging time very well 🙂

  2. Hi! Very interesting article – I can associate with the fear and worry when covid broke out. At one level I was terrified of an uncertain future for me and the whole population. But then again I thought it through and reconciled with “what ever will be will be”, and took advantage of not working to spend quality and productive time with my children. There is a saying in my country and it goes like this: ” fear is hollow, on the inside there is nothing of it”. After two weeks I’ve started to work and everything is great so far.

    Cheers,

    Primoz

    1. Thanks Primoz, I love that saying 🙂 Thanks for sharing it. 

  3. Hello Deb,

    I really enjoyed reading your article and on the whole it made me feel very relaxed, so thank you so much.

    I used have run my own business previous to this which became very stressful for me and I looked at ways at that time to help me to relax and destress. I have then learnt about different techniques that I can do that at different times depending on how anxious I can become. 

    What I truly like to do if I feel overwhelm is to just go outside, kick off my shoes, look around at the beautiful world and breathe!

    Lovely article thank you 

    1. No problem Imelda and thank you for commenting. Techniques are good for de-stressing but they do not address the underlying causes of stress, they only relieve the stress that has built up, a bit like a pressure cooker. 

  4. This is really a good article. It’s like you’re directly talking to me at “The Law of Control”. “The only thing we can control is ourself”, I totally agree with you. However, controlling ourself is one of the most diffcult changes to make. It’s a daily effort within ourself. And, when we loose, getting back is a tougher effort.

    This article does not only inform me about mental health during a pademic, I think the information here is also very applicable without pandemic.

  5. You’re absolutely right about thoughts controlling our feelings and actions. Right now, I consciously monitor myself to make sure that I only choose thoughts that attract positivity into my life despite the present pandemic going on. There’s no point dwelling on the news because after all, the media has to keep on highlighting interesting stories coz’ it’s part of their job.

    Bottomline, what we focus on determines the course of our lives.

    1. Exactly Dominic, I couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂

  6. Hey,

    I find the article to be very useful, especially this pandemic period. Everywhere in the people at this need to read about “Mental Health During a Pandemic”.Therefore, your article is what  I can recommend to everyone to read.

    COVID-19 has brought so many changes in the lives of people. So, Information such as this is indispensable.Thank you for sharing it with the public.

     

  7. Very interesting and informative write up. This article is much needed during this time,where people are already panicking. most people are scared of the outcome of the pandemic, and I do agree with you that fear of the unknown has done a lot of damage. Fear is just in our imagination but most people choose to embrace it instead of fighting it.

    This pandemic should be an eye-opener and it should be a gateway to greater things. I think we should focus on the positive making use of all that time you have to relax, learn a new skill, try something new. or do something you’ve always wanted to do. 

    In all there is isn’t much we can do about it.  let’s focus our energy on things we can influence and control.

  8. Hello there thanks for the review it was really helpful. Indeed maintaining a stable mental health can be challenging during a pandemic. There’s a lot of panic and people are actually going through series of stress. Some have become jobless and are having a lot to deal with. For me I think the the best way to maintain a good mental health is by staying focused no matter what happens

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