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Expert gives 6 tips to manage your mental health during quarantine

Have you been struggling with stress, anxiety, loneliness or even having sleeplessness due to the covid-19 pandemic? All the changes that have come due to the pandemic can cause mental health issues that make it difficult for you to go on with your daily activities of life. For instance, being in the house all day, which is something that most people were not used to can trigger loneliness and depressive symptoms.

During these times when you want to avoid leaving the house as much as possible due to coronavirus, you need to ensure that you are mentally fit. That means if you are feeling depressed or stressed, you must look for ways to deal with the issues without leaving the house.

To start with, psychologist Grace Kariuki advises that you try self-help tips to deal with the issues you are struggling with regarding mental health:

1. Manage your thoughts

It’s all about what you think. Take control of your thoughts and keep negative thoughts as far away as possible. Even though times are hard, try to replace irrational thoughts with rational ones. Think of the good things and practice gratitude instead of focusing on the dark side of the pandemic.

2. Practice deep breathing to reduce tension

“When we sense any type of danger, our bodies react by releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which prepares us to be ready for emergency action. We experience increased heart rate, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and muscles tighten. Deep breathing helps to reduce blood pressure and relaxes muscles. Focusing on breathing helps us to redirect our thoughts to the present and the breathing so the racing thoughts can calm down.” This therapist advises.

3. Walking away from the situation

Do anything that helps to divert your thoughts from the fear or anxiety you are battling. For instance, you could read a book, take a walk, listen to music and inspirational messages, call a friend or exercise. Grace tells us that these things help in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, and depressive thoughts and emotions.

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4. Avoid using psychoactive substances

In as much as you may be tempted to take drugs to relax, this expert advises against the idea. According to Grace, drugs and substance use will only intensify your symptoms or give a false sense of relief without actually dealing with the situation.

5. Expressing one’s desires and needs with family members

You need to identify what triggers your fear, anxiety or depressive thoughts. If it’s the people around you, be assertive and let them know your needs and desires. Don’t suffer in silence while speaking out could help you manage the issue.

6. Reach out for professional help

If you are unable to deal with the problem using the above self-help tips, make sure you seek professional help from a counsellor, your spiritual support system, or family and friends for extra support.

You can get professional help by searching for counselling psychologists in Kenya on the internet, downloading mental health apps on your mobile phone or dialling 1199 for free counselling and psychological support.