- Effect of the Pandemic on Mental Health
- Effect of the Pandemic on Physical Health
- What is Self-care and Why it’s Important
- 100 ways to Boost Your Self-esteem/Self-care Tips
- Know When to Seek Help
The coronavirus pandemic has altered everyone’s way of life globally. Still facing the uncertainties, it’s easy to be demotivated and suffer from low self-esteem. Are you struggling to remain focused and productive through the quarantine? You are not alone. The feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety are the primary responses to the effects of the pandemic.
Whether you are a student, an employee working from home, you lost your business or job during the pandemic. You don’t have to sink into depression or suffer from low self-esteem. You can still maintain your mental and physical health during this challenging moment.
Effect of the Pandemic on Mental Health
The coronavirus has significantly caused changes to our everyday lives. It has altered daily routines, brought about unprecedented financial pressures, and even broken our normal social relations. As regulatory authorities loosen the lockdown measures, everyone hopes for a new ray in rebuilding all that went down. You've probably waited for so long to meet that friend, visit your favorite locations, or, much anticipated, rebuild the broken social structure.
Even as you anticipate for this recapture, for many, adjusting to the former life routine is a rugged ridge to cross. And here, mental health disorders such as anxiety will follow. Additionally, for many, especially the vulnerable, stepping out of the closed-door is daunting at a time when the pandemic discussion is at its peak.
For the said reasons, it’s essential to understand some of the mental health problems that you or a family member may experience, such as depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fear and Anxiety
The Lockdown season undoubtedly threw many through this path. Though we may have devised ways to cope, navigating through the lockdown drains much emotional energy. When ambushed with a tormenting situation, our dynamic response system mostly reciprocates with feelings. Anxiety and fear are expected feelings at such times. Raising a level of tolerance and hope for a better future enables us to deal with these feelings.
Suicidal Feelings and Substance Abuse
The economic recession was experienced during the pandemic season. As a result, many people have suffered, leading to suicidal feelings, while others have abused drug substances. Research conducted in the USA in June 2020 shows that 13% of the adults reported an increased substance use while 11% recorded suicidal thoughts. At the start of pandemic-based lockdown in 2020, data indicate an increase in drug overdose deaths.
Research has indicated emerging evidence of mental health among young people, especially those who were disproportionately affected.
Throughout the lockdown season, many people lost their jobs and others their businesses leading to negative mental wellbeing. Studies show that adults whose sources of income went down during the pandemic mostly recorded higher cases of depression than those who didn't lose their livelihoods.
The effects of depression on individuals may go beyond their mental health and emotions and can also affect their physical health.
Effect of the Pandemic on Physical Health
The corona pandemic has scorched the economy, living pattern, and the physical wellbeing of populations. As states sought measures to curb the spread, stay-at-home orders were implemented that, in return, resulted in a sedentary lifestyle and a decline in physical activity. Following measures such as lockdown, people found themselves leading a sedentary life with minimal physical activity leading to weight gain among obese people.
Change in Lifestyle Behaviors
According to Journal Obesity in the United States, eating out four or six times a week went down by 10%, while home cooking for six or more times per week went up by 26% during lockdown season. However, healthy eating seems to have increased.
Similarly, about 44% of the participants in the study indicated consumption of unhealthful snacks, while 26% indicated healthful snacking.
Additionally, persons who reported unhealthful eating also reported cases of troubled sleep. Besides, inactive leisure activities increased while active leisure activities decreased. Overall, people with obesity improved their diet than non-obese people. However, they also experienced a significant decline in mental health and the highest cases of weight gain.
The corona pandemic has seen many changes in our lives. From business closure and social distancing, physical activities have almost come to a halt. In addition, the closure of schools and learning institutions has reduced social interactions and leisure activities among youths.
Positive social interactions breed more healthy physical interactions among peers, for instance, visiting the gym, soccer fields, and other recreational facilities. Conversely, the measures such as lockdown and social distancing have led to a reduction in physical interactions and increased passive leisure activities.
Researches have shown an increased rate of negative impacts on health caused by the pandemic. Obesity and inadequate physical activity are some of the underlying conditions that worsen the effect of Coronavirus.
With stay-at-home orders, physical activities have almost stopped and are increasing the rate of a sedentary lifestyle. A decline in exercise and an increase in inactive leisure are likely to decrease caloric expenditure, prompting obesity.
What is Self-care and Why it’s Important
Self-care is a term used to refer to the ability to care for yourself. It is used regarding any activity or process you take on yourself to ensure your physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. Placing self-care at the top of our lives is a good idea, especially when planning for a desirable goal. As important as it is, self-care comes first when facing challenging financial crises, loss of a job, family break-ups, or pandemics like Covid-19.
It's a time when people are only concerned with running their business and life activities that increase productivity. Faced with busy schedules, very few remember to take care of themselves. Though we need to earn and deliver more, finding time to engage in self-care would ensure relief from daily pressures and burn-outs and help us reset to a more energetic and productive level.
Remaking a deteriorated mental health would cost a fortune in wages or resources, time, and lost life track. Therefore, taking some time to manage yourself is as essential as it is beneficial.
Working until dusk and starting again at dawn comes with its own challenges that include anxiety, burn-out, and depression, leading to dangerous health implications.
Health care opens a page for healing and controlling lifestyle situations such as stress and depression. Self-care also minimizes the levels of stress, boosts happiness and energy. On physical health, self-care is among the clinically proven approaches that help reduce stroke, cancer, and heart failure diseases, among many others.
Among the reasons that people give for not taking part in self-care is inadequate time. While we have much to handle through the day, we must find time with our schedules for ourselves. Self-care does not cost much and is even achievable at home while maintaining social distance, especially during this pandemic period.
Self-care is a personal responsibility, and what would work for you may not be the package for another person. The beauty of the matter is that self-care fits well for a personal routine. What you did yesterday and before may not have worked, and that should not make you despair; keep trying and searching until you knock on what best suits you. Gradually and commitment to the progress would finally result in a significant enhancement to your whole wellbeing.
Before you commence on your self-care plan, consider the eight dimensions of SAMHSA concerning health and wellbeing. They include:
- Emotional- get someone to talk to, read a book, reflect on a plan, listen to your best hit music. It also involves shouting or crying out, hugging someone, or even sleeping.
- Environmental- it would be breathtaking to walk on a beautiful scene, collect litter around, rearrange and redesign your house, use the reusable in the house, etc.
- Financial- establish a saving plan, cut down on impulse purchasing, make an investment plan, ask for a raise and avoid credit cards.
- Intellectual- consider reading or listening to audiobooks, update yourself with emerging issues, unveil puzzles, try something new, perfect your skill, see the end of a program, or graduate.
- Occupational- take promotion classes, graduate from a course, pursue your dream job, take a new career, open and run your business.
- Physical- avoid drugs, engage in a work-out, take your prescribed medicine, go for a medical check-up, and get a 7-9 hour nap.
- Spiritual - do right to others, visit a nice place, pray, read Holy Scriptures, purpose to live a better life, be supportive, and mind the wellbeing of others.
- Social- check on old friends, meet family members, have fun, use the media and technology, engage in volunteer activities, etc.
It’s good to engage in day-to-day self-care activities. Continuous involvement will ensure a balance between your general wellness and an improved health standard. Always remember to enjoy this precious life.
Why is it Important to Boost Your Self-Esteem
Self-esteem refers to the overall sense of self-worth and personal value. It is believing in yourself, accepting who you are, and focusing on where you want to be. The inner energy enables us to trust our abilities and the motive to perform to our full potential as we positively navigate life.
Research indicates that self-esteem affects our general wellbeing, which should be well thought of, especially when getting involved with children. The following factors influence self-esteem;
- Life experiences
- Social circumstances
- Other people’s reactions
- Comparing yourself to others
On the other hand, some factors indicate a sense of low self-esteem:
- Seeking identity from other people
- Quickly angered and irritated
- Feeling that your point isn’t worth
- Believing that you are not good enough
- Thinking the world isn’t safe for you
- Lack of confidence
- Over concerned with your weaknesses
- Frequent experience of fear, depression, and anxiety.
- You always see yourself as second or third after making a comparison with others.
Some of the steps that will boost your self-esteem:
- First, take an inventory of yourself- it involves jotting down at least 10 of your weaknesses and strengths. After identifying them, start to build a real value and concept of your inner self. Then, work on the strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
- Set achievable goals- your expectations should not be too high in the short run. Perform to attain what is within your power.
- Don't be a perfectionist- no person is an angel. Instead, acknowledge your shortcomings and accomplishments. In that way, you'll learn and grow through the mistakes.
- Explore yourself- knowing yourself is the path to living a peaceful life. Constantly acknowledge learning new things and keep improving every step.
Boosting your self-esteem is an essential aspect of growth and development. A person with high self-esteem becomes a leader by default, influencing and offering choices to others in life. Self-esteem is in itself a motivation that serves to ensure that person explores their full potential.
Self-motivated people take good care of themselves and persistently work to achieve their set goals and their aspirations. Additionally, they value their self-worth and live a happier life overcoming every adversity along their way.
100 ways to Boost Your Self-esteem/Self-care Tips
Self-care activities involve physical activities such as healthy eating, mental exercises, like book reading and meditation, and spiritual or social activities, for instance, praying and meeting with family members. However, the most outstanding question that self-care goes down to answer is: "what do you generally need?'' Here are some of the approaches you can consider to boost your self-esteem.
During this corona pandemic season, you can also up your self-confidence by:
- Identifying and avoiding negative self-talk
- Checkin in with yourself
- Taking note of your mental voices
- Acknowledging your steps.
- Doing what makes you happy.
- Striving to bring out the best of yourself in everything that you do
- Encouraging yourself even in failure
- Focusing on what you want to change
- Celebrating the small bits you make
- Helping others
- Identifying and walking with a good team
- Understanding your values and adhering to them
- Speaking slowly
- Walking confidently
- Changing a small habit
- Focusing on your goals
- Acquiring more knowledge
- Living in an organized compound
- Identifying what troubles you
- Adjusting your belief patterns
- Engaging in yoga
- Creating and writing content
- Creating your inspiration
- Surprising someone with some good thing
- Being creative
- Avoiding toxic people
- Trying something new
- Goofing around
- Getting a massage
- Getting up and preparing early
- Trying acupuncture
- Getting a manicure
- Donating excess clothes
- Writing a plan for your life
- Encouraging yourself
- Playing with your pet
- Checking out on old friends
- Turning off your handset or computer and staying calm through the day
- Engaging in genuine conversation
- Engaging in karaoke soberly
- Preparing a nice meal
- Loudly affirming yourself
- Writing a friendly letter
- Visiting engaging sites
- Planting a tree
- Visiting a comedy club for laugh gigs
- Riding a bike
- Sleeping extra hours
- Tasting some wine
- Taking a family member for an outing
- Skipping on rocks down the river
- Asking for help
- Painting a beautiful picture and hugging it in your room
- Being silent on your bed
- Trying a new grill this weekend
- Keep doing what you like
- Listen to audios via earphones
- Take yourself through a challenge
- Do bush walks
- Meet a social group
- Take a forest path
- Engage in a breathing exercise
- Start stretching
- Make a playlist of your mood
- Engage to-do list to clean up your mind
- Listen to a podcast
- Use adult coloring to control anxiety.
- Reward yourself
- Make a "me time."
- Take a seven minutes meditation
- Change to binaural tones
- Read a book you didn’t like
- Let go off of hurting past
- Express your emotions
- Make weekly goals
- Share positively in media
- Get out daily
- Do something spontaneous
- Work out your emotions
Take a healthy meal, take a walk, drink water, do some exercise, have enough sleep, sip some tea, busk in the sun, take a bath. You can also practice mindfulness, take a break from work, play some computer games, read a novel, listen to some beats, and reflect on your progress. Moreover, praying, connecting with nature, meditation, and self-reflection help in enhancing spiritual self-care
Know When to Seek Help
People with low self-esteem are likely to be diagnosed with depressed moods, anxiety, and fear. At some point, the symptoms may prove to persist to the point of seeking medical help. For example, depression caused by low self-esteem would majorly contribute to suicidal thoughts, self-stigmatization, hate, and unworthiness. The following symptoms shows that one needs medical assistance:
- Changed in personality and behavioral patterns
- Prolonged anger
- Anger leading to violence
- Excessive moods swing
- Drug and substance abuse
- Withdrawal symptoms
If you or a family member exhibits some of these symptoms for two weeks, it's time to seek a practitioner’s assistance.
Some of the experts to reach to include:
- Clinical Psychologists
- Social Workers
- Legalized mental counselors
- Family doctor
- Employer-provided Assistance (EAPs)
- Nearby medical institution offering mental health services
- Your local hospital
- Local mental health centers
- Church leaders
- Your Health Insurance Firm
Making consultations with an expert you are free to engage with ensures better results. A person knowledgeable about your past, beliefs, and norms is better placed to assist you better. On the other hand, don't shy off from getting recommendations from family and neighbors.
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