Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Friday, February 19, 2021

Pandemic Diaries: Mental Health

There is a lot of emphasis during this pandemic on making sure that people take care of themselves not just physically but mentally. I have seen a lot of people post tips to make sure that we all have our self-care days or moments because our mental health is just as important as our physical health during these times. The mind is a very powerful thing. If we can keep ourselves positive and mentally healthy during this challenging period, I believe it can help us to be physically healthier as well. 

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Even before the pandemic, I have already had challenges concerning my mental health. I have a thyroid disease that can cause depression, anxiety, and OCD. While I have not been officially diagnosed by a psychologist regarding these issues, two of my doctors have seen symptoms of these with me and have talked to me about it. One doctor even prescribed anti-anxiety medication that I have since stopped taking since someone told me that it was a pretty strong drug. 

While I was doing fine pre-pandemic, these days have been a challenge. I have had a lot of anxiety about going out, encountering other people, and this fear of infection. Going out for me usually means panicking over how many people I will encounter during that time outside my home. The OCD comes in with how many times I spray myself with alcohol, rub alcogel and then wash my hands. I have been a germophobe before COVID, but now I am much, much worse.

Pre-pandemic, I could say that I have recovered from depression (again, not officially diagnosed). I was no longer going down a path so dark that I would consider taking my own life, where I would emotionally eat and literally be shoving food down my throat while I cried my feelings/sadness away. These days, however, I do find myself having those somewhat dark, low moments where I just want to cry and give in to the sadness that I have been feeling. I have been doing my best to try to pull myself out of it when I can, but sometimes I just give in by sleeping all day or just shutting everything out for a day or two until I can feel better. It also helps that I have a sister I can talk to and siblings who are there to give me a hug and a kiss when I need it the most. Still, some days are easier than others.

What do I do to keep myself mentally healthy these days? Here are some of the things that help for me:

  • Read – Usually feel-good romance ones. Chick lit counts too. Anything positive, light, and a quick read.
  • Listen – I listen to music, podcasts that make me laugh, anything that will help me to feel better.
  • Watch – I watch movies, binge-watch series, mostly ones that are not too heavy. Life is already a challenge, why would I want to watch anything that would make me feel worse?
  • Sleep – A lot of times it can be hard to fall asleep, but I do my best to get into it when I can.
  • Exercise – While physically I do not look it, I have been exercising regularly. It helps me to be tired enough to make sleep easier when I need it.
  • Stop – I just stop whatever it is I have been doing and let go. I work from home, so when I am feeling the need for self-care, I take a break. I have had days/weeks/months where I put my blog and social media on hold because I did not want to stress myself with it. I did not want to watch TV or listen to anything. I just wanted to remove everything that was in my brain and just be in the moment to do whatever it was that I felt like doing that did not require absorbing anything more in my brain.

Given that the vaccine has not even been distributed here in the country, I think we have a long way to go before this pandemic ends. Whatever we can do to ensure that we can be in the right headspace while we are in this pandemic, we should do it. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as wearing a mask and disinfecting/protecting ourselves. We need to do what we can to protect it.



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