“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
On of the effects of the pandemic is an increase in mental health issues. The number of people struggling with depression, anxiety, pain and illness with psychological origins have gone up. More people are also suffering with fear, which is affecting their mental stability.
There is a constant fear of infection, and some people only feel safe in their homes. When they try to go somewhere else, whether it is for work or shopping, they feel overwhelmed by fear. The anxiety can be felt as physical pain or psychological discomfort, which can prove debilitating for long periods of time.
Our homes have seen increased stress as entire families have been confined together. Conflicts, both old and new, have increased, even to the point of aggression. In homes where only one or two people live, feelings of loneliness have increased, which can include feeling abandoned or sad. The need to be visited, whether by children, family members or friends, rather than going to visit contributes to these feelings as well.
In general, the confinement, insecurity, and increased uncertainty makes people feel overwhelmed. As the days pass, families begin to wear out, which contributes even to neglect for health recommendations.
Others rebel against the confinement, rejecting the health norms, which ultimately increases the number of infections.
Here are a few suggestions of ways to maintain stable mental health. In this way, when the pandemic ends, we will be even better than before.
- Keep a hopeful vision. Remember and keep in the forefront of your mind that this will all pass, and it is possible to end this time even better than before.
- Organize your day. Make plans for the whole day. Write down what you will do in the morning, afternoon and evening, without losing a vision for the future.
- Make daily routines and follow them. It could can include 30 minutes of exercise, and an hour of conversation with your children, spouse or family members. This is a good time to be together and talk about how we feel. Listening to your children will help them endure the pandemic. Maintaining routines will help them feel some control, which will help them feel safer and more relaxed.
- Do something fun! Take time to enjoy one another and laugh together.
- Take time to pray, read the Bible, and talk about God’s promises. These habits will help your family grow in faith and hope.
- Have a social life. Communicate via phone calls or other methods, even if you cannot visit in person.
- Help other people. Give a gift to let someone know you care. Keep in mind the cost of the gift is not important, but rather the thought behind it. You could also send a message, a helpful article, or something else that says you were thinking of them.
These practices will help us maintain good mental health.
The slogan right now is: less fear, more care, more demonstration of affection and more cooperation. In that way we will end better than we began.
May God help you put in to practice what you have learned.
COVID-19 Response Team, Mesoamerica Region.