How to protect your mental health during a pandemic infectious disease

This is a personal post based on my personal views and experience. Please keep your judgement for yourself. Thanks

It is hard to write something during these days of uncertainty and anxiety. No one has seen anything like this before. We all watch and read the news so there’s no need to remind what’s going on. My family is locked down in Italy, they can’t go out unless with permission of the police and only if it’s absolutely necessary, like for work, food shopping or doctor’s appointment. In the UK, there’s no ban (yet) but I decided to isolate myself anyway because I don’t want to get infected. Probably, this new coronavirus won’t kill someone like me, but I am aware that I can still be a carrier for the virus and can spread it around. So, I restricted my outdoor activities to going to work, buying food and other essential items.

The isolation doesn’t bother me. I have been practising self-isolation for the last year and a half. Finishing my PhD and 6 months of unemployment didn’t give much choice for leisure and entertainment, so I got to learn how to be happy with my own company. I am fully aware that as human beings, we aren’t supposed to be isolated, avoid human contact and see our friends and family members through Skype or Facetime. I read many comments from my Italian fellow friends that see the isolation as taking their freedom away from them. It sucks staying home. I know, but there is a lot you can do during these days to feel less isolated and most importantly don’t lose your sanity.

I got to learn how to be happy with my own company!

90526981_556174248350465_5509762185372368896_nProviding you don’t have the lockdown, it’s okay to go out alone, go for a bike ride, a walk in the woods, on the beach, on the mountain, lake or whatever natural scenery you have nearby. At home, you can meditate, doing yoga and if you are struggling with your mental health, you might look into booking some counselling sessions. I do mine on Skype because it’s cheaper. In Italy, people are signing and playing on their balcony to share joy during this period of deep depression and anxiety!

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, I used to practise daily gratitude. Even in difficult times like this, you can still find joy and happiness at the end of the day. There’s loads of negativity on the news, from people on social media and on the streets that feel entitled to harass you just because you have an opinion or go out. Despite they don’t have a clue about your life, how you feel, if you are going out because you need food or because you are a paramedic, they feel like they need to have a saying on your life. It’s okay to feel carried away by the negativity around you. I just want you to focus on all the positive things you have. Even being able to walk and breath, finding food at the grocery store or live another day without being infected is something to be grateful for these days.


Appreciating the sunset on my way home from work

As far as possible, be empathetic towards other people.

Everyone is going through the same struggle, we all panicked at some point because there was no food at the grocery shop, people don’t stay home or we have family members that are at risk if they get infected. There is no need to be horrible to others, use derogatory language just because you have a bunch of degrees and understand the problem scientifically. Many governments are being absolutely rubbish at dealing with the pandemic, they initially minimised the problem saying that everything was okay, the day after they closed schools, imposed lockdown, people went to buy food and found nothing.

People have different ways to deal with drastic changes and what might be obvious to you might be hard to grasp for others. Everyone is different and processes information at a different pace. Being empathetic and understanding the needs and situation of others would be nice above all these days of uncertainty and desperation for many!

Stay safe, stay home, be nice to your mind and don’t stockpile food! Love you all!

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