Parenting Child Psychology and Behaviour

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19: Expert Talks

Kumkum Jagadish
1 to 3 years

Created by Kumkum Jagadish
Updated on Apr 28, 2021

 Mental Health and Coping During COVID 19 Expert Talks
Reviewed by Expert panel

The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. While we take all precautions, stay safe and help others, it is also important that we take care of our mental health.

We spoke to Kumkum Jagadish, Counseling Psychologist who has given out some really useful information and effective tips addressing pressing issues in these times.

What are the signs that you may be going through anxiety?

  • Negative thoughts in our minds

  • Thinking of what ifs with fear of uncertainty related to health, job etc.

  • There could be panic where you are not able to breathe, 

  • Sweating 

  • Trembling

  • Palpitations

  • Loss of sleep or too much sleep

  • Fatigue

  • Lack of concentration

  • Lack of appetite

  • Over eating

  • Irritation, frustration leading to anger outbursts

  • Lack of energy


 

What is your advice to a parent who is undergoing stress and anxiety?

If you have anxiety, it is important to start becoming aware of it. There is nothing wrong in having anxiety. So firstly become aware of it and accept it. Do not put yourself down for having anxiety. Respect the feeling of anxiety.

Only then will you be able to deal with it effectively. Many times we feel guilty because we feel that we are weak because we are undergoing anxiety. This is not true. It is natural to be anxious in this pandemic situation. It is important to deal with it and develop coping strategies that are positive and effective. 
 

Pls suggest some activities that parents can do with children to maintain a hopeful and positive environment at home

Coping strategies:

Meditation is a great way of calming down. When we are anxious, the serotonin in our brain is reduced. It is important to bring the level back up. Meditation is one way of increasing it. You may find it difficult to meditate for long when you are anxious. So start with simple breathing for 5 minutes where you are following your breath. Focus on breathing in and out. Everytime your attention goes to a thought, bring it back to your breath.

You can also count 1 to 4 as you breathe in and 1 to 4 as you breathe out.

When in anxiety, your thoughts will carry you away into the future and unknown, thus one thought leading to another.  In order to avoid this, it is important for you to become more mindful and bring your senses back to the 'here and now'. You can practice this by doing one thing at a time, for example, take a glass of water, observe the glass, observe how water rolls around in the glass. How does the glass feel on your skin? How does the water smell, How does the water taste in your mouth?

Besides this, there are things you should follow:

  • Try to minimise your news feeds.

  • Avoid if possible too much news and WhatsApp messages on the pandemic

  • Think positive thoughts, you need to do this by making a list for all the things you are grateful for. Eg. I am grateful for my favorite dish that I am able to have today, I am grateful for the book I am reading and so on.

  • Engage with your children.

  • Play boardgames, have family movie nights, have creative days where you are creating something together as a family, be it a dish or an art work

  • Talk about your childhood and tell them stories about your childhood days that bring joy and happiness to you

  • Go through old photo albums.

 

When should you see an expert?

It is important to see an expert if 

  • You feel that your work is getting affected. 

  • You are not able to complete your goals for the day.

  • Your relationships are getting affected because of the anxiety.

  • You have thoughts of suicide.

  • There is weight loss or weight gain due to anxiety.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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