By Vimbayi Heather Mukarati
Being constantly bombarded with negative news can at times feel overwhelming and sometimes we need to give ourselves a break from trying to know every statistic because they rarely come with a calming contextual explanation. The Covid19 pandemic has brought a lot of theories that bring with it untold panic to many. The first thing is to learn to scrutinize everything you come across on social media and try to take only the sensible things . If possibly, I would advise everyone to only take the information that comes from the World Health Organization(WHO). It is really important to stay away from conspiracy theories and some views that may seem far fetched. I realized the anxiety that can come with such a pandemic and the impact “limited knowledge on what information to trust and what not to trust” can have and l really hope that this article will be helpful during this lockdown.
It is very important to stay close to your normal routine. Try to maintain some semblance of structure from the pre-quarantine days. If you normally did your laundry on Sundays, then keep doing that. If your original time table required you to study for 5 hours a day the continue doing just that.Not only will sticking to your normal routine keep you active and less likely to spiral, it will be easier to readjust to the outside world when it’s time to get back to your usual life.Ensure that you’re in a well ventilated room and following basic self care, healthy eating, enough sleep, lots of hydration and try to keep a routine.
Avoid obsessing over endless Covid19 coverage. During the first days of this lockdown, I joined many Whatsapp groups in which people would send Covid19 updates. I would also watch BBC and CNN news religiously . Not that it is bad to keep up to date with the current situation, but too much information will only lead to depression. I started thinking about things like “if this situation continues, how will people even feed themselves” , “when are schools even opening, my degree program has a duration of 5,5 years and I don’t want more years added” . Literally, this was all I could think of and if I had continued at that rate, I would have fallen into depression. This actually disturbed my progress when it came to the studying aspect. Ever gotten into a situation whereby you keep procrastinating on doing something just because your mind is convinced that you still have all the “time” in the world? That was me during the first days of this quarantine but as soon as I stopped running after all the Covid19 updates, my life went back on track. Also cut down on social media because there, you will see posts on the very topics that will eventually depress you.
Start a new quarantine ritual! With this newfound time, why not do something special during these quarantine days? You can start a daily journal to jot down thoughts and feelings to reflect on later. Exercising also helps, you can take a walk everyday at a specific time. I always get motivated by people who have “book-reading goals ” I love reading ! I actually prefer novels to movies . Many people think it’s weird but well, that’s how it is. You can make it your goal to read one or 2 books a week. I know a group of people who have bible study sessions every day at 8pm and I’m sure they are actually using this quarantine time to grow spiritually. Having something special during this time will help you look forward to each new day.
Try to focus on positive things, knowing that effort is being made globally to bring this situation to an end, but it will take time. Distract yourself so that you will not over think as this will only lead to depression.Stay active!
Talk to someone ! Some of you guys are medical students and you have the privilege of having mentors who are health-care professionals. Talk to them whenever you feel anxious. You can even talk to your peers whenever you feel too lonely. If you bottle emotions up,it usually doesn’t end well, so its always advised to let it all out. I am sure that our parents would be more than willing to listen to our problems.You can try and get professional help before things escalate. Many organizations are there for support with grief, anxiety, or general mental well being. You can call or text these organizations and you can access therapy online with a trained therapist.
Look after key relationships. It may be your friends or family. Try to look out for them , always communicate with them because this will give you inner comfort and you will also worry less.
I always say that music is therapeutic! Try listening to music whenever you feel lonely or any feelings that might lead to depression . Whenever I feel like I’m at my lowest point in life, I try to listen to gospel music because it literally lifts my soul if there’s anything like that . But the point here is that , music will distract you from thinking too much . They say that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, don’t they ?
Lastly , if you’re someone who is spiritual, reading the bible will always renew your mind . You could try and download the you-version app bible. This online bible has bible reading plans on every aspect of life including depression and anxiety! These reading plans are really helpful and I really think they are worth the try.
After all this is said and done, Remember to: Stay Home, Wash And Disinfect Your Hands, Cover Your Mouth When Coughing Or Sneezing, And Please , Be Safe!