How to Protect Your Mental Health during the COVID-19 Lockdown

For those in addiction treatment, it is crucial that you protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing isolation measures are unprecedented situations. Without question, the coronavirus is a danger to a person’s health. But, the resulting social distancing and self-isolation measures can also affect your mental health. 

Mandatory isolation, social distancing and the uncertainty of the lockdown can cause heightened anxiety and depression. In this article, we will be discussing how to handle your mental health while coping with COVID-19.

It goes unnoticed but the coronavirus pandemic is taking a mental toll on the population of Canada. The fear of the virus is one of the major causes of psychological stress. Furthermore, the seemingly endless barrage of unfavourable news and being indoors can cause heightened anxiety and depression. 

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. Not only is the threat of the virus a source of fear, people now face stressful life changes. Most people are now confined to their homes all day, some without the company of friends or family. This may be necessary to control the spread of the virus and ‘flatten the curve,’ but it also comes with negative psychological effects. 

If you are already prone to mental health issues, it may be even worse. In light of this, looking after your mental health should be high on your priority list. To help you, we will be giving you some tips on how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown. Keep reading to find a balance that works for you.

Related Article: How Do Drugs Affect Your Mental Health?

Coronavirus Lockdown: How to Protect Your Mental Health

Looking after your mental health should be of paramount importance for people in addiction treatment. We all understand how the rigours of mental health can have far-reaching implications on the addiction recovery process. Here are a couple of tips to help you cope with the stress of COVID-19.

Filter news and online media

Understandably, you may feel the need to keep up with the daily happenings regarding the pandemic and every other thing. But, if you want to protect your mental health, then you should cut down on the news you absorb. 

Continuous news about the pandemic can put you on edge, increase anxiety and cause mental stress. So, you need to filter the stories that you take in and limit your time on social media, especially if it is related to the pandemic.

Now, we are not saying you should cut off from the world and remain out of the loop. Instead, you should differentiate essential news from news that can overbalance your mental health. Sometimes, too much information can be a problem. During this lockdown, listen only to the important news. 

Do not obsess over the endless COVID-19 news coverage. As a rule, do not spend more than an hour on the news about the pandemic. It will help you to preserve your mental health and a need for addiction treatment services.

Connect with loved ones

The coronavirus may have caused a lockdown, but technology is not locked down. Connect with your friends and loved ones. Even the most introverted people need some sense of connection from time to time. Connecting with those you love is top on the list of tips to protect your mental wellbeing. 

You do not have to feel alone at all times. Picking up the phone to call a friend can work wonders for your emotions. Furthermore, the internet has made things easier. You can make video calls or even conference video calls such that you and your loved ones can see one another. This way, you can get emotional and mental support from others if the need arises. 

Also, you can be a source of support for others. Connecting with others will make you feel less alone, less isolated. It will also ensure that you are not obsessing over the coronavirus updates and what may be or may not be. This is an essential tip recommended by most addiction services in Vancouver. Try it today!

Maintain a stable routine

Now that we are in lockdown, there can be a temptation to slip out of regular routines and just do things whenever. You need to resist this temptation. As much as possible, try to maintain a semblance of your normal daily routine. It will go a long way in helping you manage anxiety and depression. Do not adopt a more lethargic lifestyle, as this may lead to negative thinking.

Try to go to bed around the time you used to during the pre-quarantine days. Wake about the same time too. Get out of bed when you should. Try not to spend the whole day in your pyjamas. 

All these can help you keep your mental health on check during the COVID-19 lockdown. Furthermore, it will make it easier for you to readjust when the time comes to resume normal activities.

Related Article: Various Health Effects of Marijuana on the Body

Organize your home

Another tip on how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown is organization. Your physical environment can often impact the state of your mind. Since you will be spending prolonged amounts of time in your home, you should ensure that it is tidy and clean. 

Chaos in your home can be detrimental to your mental health. In fact, studies show that a clean organized space is necessary to protect your mental health. Furthermore, an untidy and disorganized home can cause feelings of unease, anxiety and claustrophobia. Therefore, you should organize your home and keep it clean. 

However, that is not all. It is also crucial that you maintain an air of predictability and proper organization inside your home. Set up mental zones for various activities in your home. For example, try not to eat in bed. Becoming free with these mental boundaries can make your mind feel muddled. The bottom line is if looking after your mental health is essential to you, then you should keep your home clean.

Eat and Sleep well

We cannot guarantee that you will not experience stress during this time of crisis. However, we can assure that a healthy body is more likely to handle the stress better. This involves eating and sleeping well. So, if you want to know how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown, a healthy lifestyle is crucial.

Your diet should contain whole grains, green vegetables, fruits and nuts. This is known as the ‘anti-depression’ diet. Eating well will ensure that your body is better nourished to handle any mental stress. 

Also, as much as possible, get at least eight hours of sleep every day. Try to sleep and wake at the same time daily. This will increase the quality of your sleep and help you get a better grip on negative emotions.

Exercise regularly

Being in lockdown means that your physical activities may have significantly reduced. So, it is necessary to boost your physical activity level with a daily exercise routine. This will help your body stay in shape. 

Furthermore, regular exercise causes your brain to produce dopamine and serotonin, which function as antidepressants. So, you see, aside from keeping fit, you are preserving your mental health by exercising. 

An excellent place to start is about 30 minutes every day. If you cannot hit that number immediately, take it slow and work your way up at a comfortable pace. A simple neighbourhood power walk every morning can do the trick for you!

Other ways you can protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown include

  • Keep yourself occupied at all times. This will give your mind less time to focus on negative thoughts.
  • Acknowledge how you feel. If you feel down, do not be in denial. Rather, focus on getting better.
  • Do not stress about the future. Rather, focus on the present and what you can control. 
  • Talk to people about your mental health. Conversing with your loved ones about how you feel can help you feel better.
  • Get professional addiction treatment and therapy help if you need to.

In conclusion

Hopefully, you have learned how to protect your mental health during the coronavirus lockdown. Your mental health is vital, and so is coping with COVID-19. Therefore, you should not handle looking after both your physical and psychological wellbeing with levity. 

Take conscious steps on taking care of your mental health during this pandemic. Thankfully, the above tips will help you stay grounded.

However, if you have further questions, let us know. We’d love to help. Addiction Healing Centre has taken extra steps to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. More importantly, our friendly reps have the expertise to provide you with all the answers you need. Send us a quick message today!

mental health

How Do Drugs Affect Your Mental Health?

When we talk about mental health, we’re referring to the psychological and emotional well-being of an individual. A person who is in good mental health does not suffer from a mental illness, and their own personal outlook on life is generally optimistic.

The stigma around mental health is quickly breaking down, as more and more people are talking about issues with mental health and how it affects our everyday lives. No one is immune to problems with their mental health, and there are both internal and external factors that can affect it.

For those individuals who ingest drugs or alcohol on a consistent basis, these substances can make a huge difference in your mental health. It is helpful to know just how and why this happens, so individuals can make more educated decisions that affect their well-being.

Drugs and Mental Health

So, how do drugs affect your mental health? Drugs are a prominent external factor, considering that they can have a significant effect on our emotions and behaviour. Some drugs, including marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and heroin are all popular substances, which have the ability to arouse various emotions and downplay others.

When we ingest these substances, they immediately begin to tamper with the chemicals in our brains. The messages that the chemicals would normally send are slowed or skewed, and we often feel and think much differently than we would in a sober state.

Although many people choose ingest drugs or alcohol for the short-term rewards, it is vital to know that these feelings are fleeting. There are far more unhealthy, even dangerous short-term and long-term effects to take into consideration.

Short-Term Effects on Mental Health

Psychoactive drugs such as alcohol and marijuana can have immediate effects on mental health, even if they have only been taken once. While not every experience will be the same for every individual, some of the less comfortable feelings that may arise include anxiety, depression, mood swings and psychosis.

Anxiety caused by substance use can result in full-blown anxiety attacks, where an individual will experience a faster heart rate, sweating and fear of losing control.

Mood disorders can also occur as a result of short-term drug use. Individuals will feel extremely down and depressed, irritable and tired, followed by elevated emotions that create delusions and impulsive behavior. This can be caused by cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, etc.

Long-Term Effects on Mental Health

Not everyone experiences long-term effect; it is suggested that some drugs may trigger mental illnesses we were unaware of, or alter or brain chemistry in a different way than others.

Depression is one of the long-term effect on your mental health, and it’s often caused by the emotional roller-coaster caused by drugs such as ecstasy. When the individual is high, they will feel happy and euphoric, and when they are down they will feel an intense sadness.

Schizophrenia is another serious, long-term effect on mental health. There have been connections made between cannabis and schizophrenia, which can occur from pre-existing triggers that users didn’t even know they had.
Schizophrenia can have a serious effect on mental health by creating hallucinations and confusion that make an individual question who they are and what is going on around them.

If you’re wondering how do drugs affect your mental health, keep in mind that every individual is different. What one type of drug does to one brain, won’t necessarily happen to another. To avoid mental health issues, it’s best to avoid substance use as much as possible, to maintain your overall mental health.

Mental Health

Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health

The varying effects of substance abuse have the ability to mimic mental illnesses, making them difficult to differentiate from pre-existing mental illness issues. Some individuals who are abusing drugs or alcohol may already have a pre-existing mental illness, which only surfaces as a result of substance abuse.

In saying that, it is possible to show signs of mental illness as a direct result of substance abuse, and this condition is referred to as “substance-induced mental disorders”. Substance-induced disorders can occur from the abuse of any type of drug, and the symptoms differ between every drug and individual ranging from mild to severe.

When it comes to alcohol abuse, there is a long list of effects that can occur physically, emotionally and psychologically. If you or someone you know is a heavy drinker, the following are some of the effects of alcohol on mental health that they may experience:

Changes in Brain Chemistry

Our mental health relies on the brain’s ability to balance out incoming chemicals, messages and processes. Ingested substances immediately begin to tamper with this complex system, altering the chemicals in the brain and affecting our behaviours, emotions and moods.

Alcohol is a depressant, so it is common that the brain will begin to send out feelings of calmness and relaxation during the first one or two drinks. The brain will also increase feelings of confidence, and cut back on any anxiety.

However, with larger doses of alcohol the chemicals change, and more of the brain becomes affected. Instead of pleasurable emotions, negative emotions will start to take over with more ingestion. Excessive amounts can lead to aggression, high anxiety and even depression.

Serotonin Levels

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain, that works to regulate our moods. Individuals who drink on a more consistent basis will experience their serotonin levels beginning to decrease, which lowers their ability to regulate their moods and react in appropriate ways.

Without the ability to properly regulate emotions, many people may struggle to find happiness or inspiration in things that used to make them happy. It may also be the case that they have trouble communicating with others and responding the way they want.

While mental illness is often the cause of excessive drinking, excessive drinking can also be the root source of mental disorders.

Effects of Alcohol on Mental Health

Moderate or heavy intake of alcohol may initially create the feelings that individuals seek, such as euphoria, increased confidence and relaxation. However, the short-term effects of moderate to heavy drinking include fatigue, nausea and headaches.

Individuals who are experiencing some form of loss or struggle in life may take the effects of alcohol further, with signs of increased violence, sadness and hopelessness. Prolonged drinking to escape these negative feelings can cause long-term anxiety, depression, dysphoria and violence.

Individuals who are withdrawing from alcohol will continue to experience forms of mood swings and instability, as well as hostility and fatigue. Those with serious alcohol addiction issues may experience withdrawal symptoms including delusions, poor body control and seizures.

Some alcohol dementias are so severe, that brain damage will be permanent.

The effects of alcohol on mental health can range from mild to severe, depending on the individuals amount of usage and the personal struggles they have endured prior to and during their substance abuse.

Alcohol affects mental health by reversing the ability to control our emotions. This lack of control often leads to more serious mental health issues, only recognizable when symptoms from alcoholism have been withdrawn.