Tamara Mental Health Services

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SPECIAL UPDATE

TIPS AND IDEAS ON HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS DUE TO COVID-19

The outbreak of the Covid 19 virus has caused a lot of distress amongst people. Dealing with a threat to our health can bring on feelings of fear, anxiety and stress in many of us. We may each deal with it differently depending on our personality, the level of threat in your locality, culture, age, etc. 

Learning to manage your stress in this situation will not only help you but also equip you to be a better caretaker for those dependent on you. Feelings of fear and anxiety are amplified by the necessity to practice social distancing. Man is a social being and curbing his social behavior  may place a strain on his functioning. It is important to keep in mind that each person’s reaction to social distancing may be different. Here are some ways to look out for yourself.

Some general tips to manage this situation:

  • Identify the impact of social isolation on your body, mind and mood – It is useful to know how isolation is affecting. Some people are not really affected by isolation but some are. They may see changes in their physical self, their mind or mood, here are some examples of the effects of isolation

    • Physical effects of self-isolation may include restlessness, lack of sleep, loss of appetite 

    • Isolation can cause a decrease in our ability to think clearly, pay attention and focus or concentrate

    • Emotional impacts may be the most significant. Increased anxiety, fear, worry, decreased feelings of hope, optimism and happiness.

  • Check your anxiety – It is fairly normal to have increased levels of anxiety or fear in a situation like this. Be mindful of your anxiety. Anxiety that is left uncontrolled can create a lot of havoc on your body and mind. You can check if your anxiety by looking out for the following signs and symptoms 

    • Inability to sleep properly or having disturbed sleep

    • Change in food habits – binge eating or not eating enough due to a loss of appetite

    • Nervous behaviour increases – biting nails, increased smoking or drinking, restlessness.

    • Inability to concentrate on any cognitive tasks, forgetfulness,  increased irritability

Anxiety Management Ideas

  1. Talking about your anxiety with other people you are close to. Keeping in touch with loved ones and increasing socialisation
  2. Following a regular routine through the day, setting aside time for work, leisure, sleep etc
  3. Mediation
  4. Physical exercise
  5. Mindfully engaging in leisure activity
  6. Reaching out for professional help when you have not been able to manage on your own. Call us!

  • Collectivistic thinking Vs Individualistic thinking – Keep in mind that we are all in this together. The virus is a global pandemic which humanity is facing. Know that the fear/anxiety/worry you are facing is shared with you by millions of other people. Engaging in collectivistic thinking helps us to be more responsible in our risk taking behaviour, share our feelings of fears and worry but also share feelings of hope and optimism
  • Physical isolation rather than emotional isolation – Although we are talking about social distancing in view of this pandemic, what is important is physical distance from each other. Not necessarily a reduction in the interaction but merely a change in how we interact within our social circles. So continue to make those calls and reply to those text messages!
  • Monitor your exposure to news about the virus –  Make sure you are ingesting information about the virus at a pace that is comfortable for you. While it is important to keep informed it is also important to not over expose yourself as the information overload can increase your anxiety and also increase your vulnerability to fake news

Group specific situation

  • Working adults (now working from home)
    • Continue to stick to the routine as you did when you went to work. Waking up at a specific time, logging in at regular times and most importantly logging out at regular times
    • Prioritise and mindfully use the extra time that you have from not travelling to work and back – Engage in some self-care practices, do your share of the house chores, spend time connecting with family and friends

More to come on the following, stay connected;

  • Managing children
  • Older population
  • Those in quarantine
  • Home makers

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