Should I Care About My Mental Health?
Although everyone knows about the need to avoid any social interaction to contain the new coronavirus, controlling the urge to go out or meet other people is difficult. Facing a quarantine can impact individuals’ mental health. Recent research has been talking about it.
What is mental health?
First of all, it’s important to clarify what the World Health Organisation defines as Mental Health:
“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (WHO, 2020). This definition helps us understand that Mental Health involves more than mental health diseases.
What are the consequences isolation can bring to my mental health?
Staying home, in the first few weeks can appear easy and fun, but over time, can cause suffering. Changes in habitual ways of life can make people feel anxious and insecure – these feelings of insecurity may be related to the excess of information provided by the media, fear of contamination, lack of knowledge about the disease, and financial instability.
We are all relational beings and, as human beings, run the risk of psychological damage when kept in isolation.
The need for social support is a daily reality, in times of adverse situations and events, such as the current pandemic, this support is even more necessary.
Social isolation associated with quarantine can be the catalyst for many mental health sequelae; even in people who were previously fine. This can include acute stress disorders, irritability, insomnia, emotional distress, mood disorders, including depressive symptoms, fear, and panic, anxiety, and stress due to financial concerns, frustration, and boredom, loneliness, lack of supplies and lack of communication. 
Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection, and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities, and societies throughout the world (WHO, 2020).
What can I do in this situation?
Keeping a healthy mind involves, even in situations of isolation, keeping connected with people, family and friends being the support we will need to face a difficult moment.
The book Live More Happy, it’s an excellent read for this moment, gives us relevant information regarding our central nervous system, which helps us to understand the power that our mind can have over us.
Like the rest of our brain, our Limbic system is devoid of sensation, so it relies on incoming messages to know when to make us feel happy, sad, mad or glad. One of the sources of input to our Limbo is the language area of the Leader. Speaking positively—to both ourselves and others—can help us live more “up” and less “down” .
Language, whether it is when we communicate with each other or with ourselves, directly affects our actions and senses. Understanding that we are relational beings, language becomes one of the main relational sources is communication. Use this tool to affect others positively.
How to do this?
- Send a text message to someone you haven’t spoken with in a while;
- Give a compliment;
- Share positive thoughts;
Sharing positivity and affection for others will bring benefits to your life as well.
Author: Diana Dias – Nurse at the University of the Sapucai Valley, Brazil, certified as a Specialist in preventative and natural health
USHER, K.; BHULLAR, N.; JACKSON, D.. Life in the pandemic: Social isolation and mental health. (2020). Journal of Clinical Nursing. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15290
MORTON, D.. Live More Happy. Signs Publishing. 25, 2017.