From a sanitary crisis to a psychological one
In order to learn more about the impact this global pandemic has on our mental health, we got in touch with Salma who kindly accepted to answer our questions.
-Could you please start by introducing yourself and what you do to our readers?
Hello dear readers! My name is Salma EL KORAICHI, I am a 25 year old psychology graduate and I am currently working as a content moderator.
-Do you think the current circumstances (global pandemic, lockdown, economic crisis and 2nd wave) have an impact on our mental health? If so, can you please elaborate your point?
Yes, it definitely has a huge impact, as we all probably saw and read for the past 6 months, a lot of suicide, abuse and murder cases occurred.
Of course these things have always happened even before the COVID-19 outbreak, but with people being forced to stay at home, leave work, school or even evicted, their mental health and emotional stability are affected.
I myself was mentally affected by it during the first 2 months of quarantine, but as a mentally strong person, I decided to fight all the negative energy and thoughts and just get adapted to the “new normal”. I hope everyone can do the same, instead of just tiring themselves while waiting for things to get better, because this is how things are going to be from now on. The world is going through a drastic change and this is our normal life now; of course there will be a day when the pandemic ends, but until then we have to get used to this change and go along with it.
As a person who’s gone through depression and still struggles with the after-effect of it, I advise everyone to just go with the flow and stop killing their mental health with overthinking or wanting their old life back.
You can make this new life enjoyable too even if you still can’t travel freely or go to some specific places. You can always pick new interests or hobbies, small things count too, so I hope everyone can still try to enjoy their time and stop thinking about their old life. We go through changes during our whole life and this is one of them, so I wish you all the best and I cheer for you to continue this fight, take care of yourselves, enjoy the little things in life and most importantly, love yourself.
-How would someone know they’re not feeling well? Is there a checklist one can consult to find out?
- Being anxious for no reason
- Self blaming
- Self doubting
- Abnomal eating habits (eating way too much, or not enough)
- Lack of interest even in your favorite things
I believe there are more things, but you should always check trusted/medical sources to be sure. Don’t google your symptoms, it will only mislead you and make you more anxious.
-In case someone starts showing signs of anxiety or something similar, what should they do?
The first thing you should do is visit a therapist, because getting an early treatment is always the best. However, if you can’t, you should reach out to anyone you trust, it can be a family member, a friend or a loved one. I know it’s hard to open up about these things and most of the time you think you are just being a bother to your friends/family, but it’s totally normal. I’m sure they’d love to help you get better even if they’re not professional.
Reaching out helps a lot of people and it’s never a burden to share your messy thoughts and struggles with someone. Therefore, I hope every one of you who are currently struggling mentally reaches out to their loved ones! You are not alone, you matter and you’re loved, we are all in this together.
-How can we avoid feeling distressed during these times?
First of all, you should do a breathing exercise. It helps you relax and distracts you from whatever is making you anxious. There are a lot of apps that you can use for this.
Do an activity to distract yourself without it being something you are good at. (i.e.: Painting/drawing, writing, working out, listening to music, going out for a walk (getting some air can be so helpful), you can go up to the rooftop if you have one, it counts too.)
-Do you have any tips for our readers to keep a healthy mindset?
Since we spend the most part of our days surfing internet, you should start by checking what and who you are adding and following on social media, because the contents you see definitely affects your mental health. I advise everyone to unfriend people who share toxicity, and if you are close to them, you can simply mute them. Your friendships matter but your mental health matters even more.
Unfollow negative/toxic pages and follow positive pages that post encouraging and cheerful quotes everyday. I know most of us are following those “depressed memes” pages, we all love memes, but trust me these pages can affect you without you realizing it. So I advise everyone to start cleaning their social media first for a better mindset.
The second thing, I’m sure everyone does this already, but I’m just here to give you more courage to continue. It’s working-out OR dancing. Working out does help a lot with keeping a positive and healthy mindset as it keeps you only focused on completing your routine, doing sports (tennis, football, swimming) and learning martial arts also helps. In case you can’t do it, you can just dance with your favorite music at home, I consider dancing working out, as you move your whole body to the music, it helps with the blood circulation which is obviously good for you.
-Can you say a final word to people out there who are not confident about themselves despite doing their best?
We all struggle with self-confidence at times, but I believe that every person is great in their own way.
Don’t compare yourself to others, your paths are different and every person has their own timing. If a person your age achieved something before you, that doesn’t mean they are better or that you won’t achieve it. Believe in yourself and in your own timing, and despite struggling with all the self-doubt, when the right time comes, you are going to know and feel it.
Don’t listen to other people’s words, even if they are your parents, they don’t know how hard you’re working and what struggles you have gone through, so their words are based on what they see not what you feel. Only you know that you are doing your best and you should be proud of it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.
Thank you to you too for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with the readers. I hope everything I said can be helpful to them and their mental health even for a little bit during this global pandemic.