COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us drastically. The humanity, the earth we all share the same crisis. The crisis borne of a virus, yes, the corona virus.
It’s frightening for all of us and we all are feeling anxious, thus managing your mental health during COVID-19 is very important.
Mental health is not different from physical health. Many people do not or have not been in the habit of exercising. But what we need to do in this crucial period is to maintain our physical and mental health simultaneously.
Both the body and the mind are affected by each other. We must also understand the relationship between the environment and our mental state, which can be utilized to manage our anxiety.
When anxiety or stress is chronic, our sleep is disturbed. We know sleep disorders are common now-a-days. If we don’t get enough sleep, we find life very challenging. In order to remove all these things, I will explain guided relaxation which helps to control our mind or relax our mind.
How to do guided relaxation?
Lie down in a comfortable position with arms loosely at sides of the body and both feet together. Now what you have to do is tighten your body parts one by one from foot to head or we can say concentrate your whole attention on your tightened body part. Repeat the tightening position by increasing the intensity and holding and then relax. Feel the relaxation or “letting go", letting go off the tension and feeling more comfortable.
We will start from the foot, calf then the thigh area, and then move to the pelvic region or butt area and then the abdominal region.
Next tighten your chest muscles and then both forearms and next make a tight fist and continue on bicep muscles. Now concentrate on the shoulders and back of neck and tighten them. Next, your face, forehead and cheek area; tighten, hold and then let go and feel the relaxation. Repeat the process and feel more relaxed. In the whole process breathe in and out slowly. Forceful breathing is not required.
Along with this, laying down and listening to music is also a way to relax. Meditation or dance can also be used for relaxation but these are passive approaches while guided relaxation is an active approach. You pay a lot of attention while doing guided relaxation as you are relaxing your body with the involvement of your mind through concentrating on various parts of the body.
Every time you have the news channel on, they mention Corona virus or COVID-19 or anything about this; it kicks up anxiety in you. So I would suggest, budget your news consumption.
Another powerful way to manage your anxiety is through reviving social connections through social networks like the Internet and the telephone. It’s a time to socially reconnect and restrengthen our relations. Our social world is really important to our ability to cope in moments of anxiety because we all are social beings from birth.
The feeling of a community bond is extremely powerful and the feelings like, ‘yes, I’m part of the community of people who love and support one another’. This feeling is based on a psychological theory of “Maslow's hierarchy of needs".
We should use this time to reinstate the social bonds we share with our family and friends. It’s not about making each other feel good all the time, sometimes sharing your thoughts might relieve the anxieties we feel. We all can use social media to have interactions with people.
Always remember, singing, dancing, laughing, meditation, aerobic exercises all are very powerful against anxiety. We should practice either one of them for better physical and mental health during this pandemic.
“Stay Home, Stay Relaxed “
Dr Kalpana Jain
Physiotherapy DepartmentCareer College Bhopal