Yara Sawan, Clinical Psychologist Psychotherapist, joined our Wellness Wednesday on Instagram Live on April 21st, 2021 to talk about coping with the effects of the pandemic on our mental health.

Yara Sawan is a mental health professional with highly specialized training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional illnesses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

All the questions asked during the Live session are answered below. Let’s have a look!

Q: Does the fact that this pandemic is spread worldwide make it easier for us or more difficult?

A: It makes the pandemic easier because, in our unconscious, we all support each other because we’re all living it. We can sympathize with other people.

Q: What tips could help us deal with all the side effects on our mental health because of Covid-19?

A: Covid-19 changed the way we view time and space. It changed our traditions and routines. Even a year later, it still affects us the same way. As kids, we were raised to be around people and as social creatures, this isolation causes stress.

Step 1 is called “mindful acceptance of a crisis situation”.

It is when we get knowledgeable about Covid and all the information related to it. We understand the right protocols and disciplines for dealing with it. When we know this, we accept our situation. That is when we can build our psychological immunity. In the same way, we build physiological immunity, we can build psychological immunity. Nurturing our psychological immunity helps us build resilience. Psychological immunity means having positive character traits that act as psychological antibodies like positive thinking, goal-oriented thinking, sense of control, emotional regulation, etc. Our mental state affects our physiological state. How many times have we heard that having a positive mindset helps people that are sick? The opposite is true. Sometimes we feel like we have a sore throat and we’re convinced we have Covid, but we test negative.

Step 2 is to avoid spending too much time watching the news.

Yes, we need to stay informed and connected to the world, but not stay connected every five minutes or keep on checking social media every minute. Studies have shown that pictures linked to traumatizing events shared on social media or movies with such scenes can lead to trauma in the individuals looking or watching. That’s why we limit the exposure of children to movies that are inappropriate for their age.

Step 3 is to disconnect and refresh positively.

We should take some time to get our minds off the bad things happening around us. We can exercise, go for walk, do some yoga, meditate, set a meal plan, do some reading, getting some sun, sitting in nature, etc.

Step 4 is rebuilding our support system of friends and close ones.

During the lockdown, many of us lost or stopped talking to a good number of friends. Since we are social creatures, having a close connection with people is very important for our mental health, and studies have shown that the better our support system, the better we feel. So it is very important to stay in touch with old friends and family members, even if through calls and video calls because the face to face interaction can really affect our mental health.

Step 5 is nurturing hope and optimism about overcoming the crisis.

We should always look for the positive side of things and hope for better days instead of focusing on the now with all its complications. We also need to surround ourselves with positive people. We’re all living this tough situation and we can’t handle more negativity from some people.

Q: How can we know if we need help from a professional?

A: If you find that your support system is not supporting you in a healthy way, or if you are unable to communicate your feelings to your support system and you find yourself not functioning like not being able to focus on work, being anxious about going for a walk because if you meet someone you might catch Covid, having panic attacks, hyperventilating, and more, this is the right time to seek professional help. When you are unable to focus beyond your comfort zone and your life, you should seek help.

Q: How can we help someone who is feeling anxious?

A: You can go for a walk together, you can have a video call and express your feelings. It is extremely important to put your feelings into words because talking to our support system is good for us. For people who find it hard to communicate their feelings, they can try to help others and engage in altruism because it’ll make both parties feel better.

That’s all folks! Thank you for joining us for this session and thank you to Yara Sawan for this valuable information. Stay tuned for more Wellness Wednesdays to come.

If you have any questions or topic suggestions, feel free to reach out to the Mint Basil Market team.

April 23, 2021 — Mint Basil Team

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