Don’t let the virus quarantine your mind –Ways to strengthen “Mental” immunity

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Ankit Gautam, a final year medical student at Government Medical College, Amritsar, Punjab, India. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

On January 11th, 2020, when the first death due to a respiratory virus was reported, me and a lot of people, even from medical community thought, “It’s flu in China, new viruses are discovered all the time in there. They will handle it.”  Never did I know that the world will completely change in a matter of just a few weeks. The so-called “normal”; which a lot of us used to despise, was just completely shattered. Now, we no longer want to rave and rant about the monotony of life, but just want to get back to “normal” again. It’s a pretty ironic thing about human behavior that it truly acknowledges the value of a certain aspect of life when that particular aspect is taken away.

As the lockdown continues for half of the world and the world economy crashing to an all-time low, this pandemic has unleashed a domino effect on essential medical supplies, food, and hospital equipment, all collapsing day by day.  Although governments throughout the world are doing their best in order to curtail this, a very insidious phenomenon is thriving underneath. This phenomenon is the mental health impact of this virus. There is a boom in cases of anxiety and depression because of the far-reaching effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Along with adhering to social distancing and practicing a healthy lifestyle, we must take care of our mental health. As almost every soul is affected by this pandemic in some way or the other, it has become empiric to boost our “Mental” immunity. The first rule is the rule of positivity. Even a little optimism goes on in the long run. Make a habit of meditating regularly, the biggest aid to be connected to your own deeper consciousness, and channelizing positivity during difficult times.

Secondly, we should try and maintain a routine and keep ourselves busy. Try to discover new talents and interests or reignite old hobbies. Record the podcast you wanted to start, learn a new language you wanted to speak or learn to bake the cheesecake which you wanted to share with your friends and family. If you think about it in a deeper sense, it’s a golden opportunity for us to be connected to our deeper selves, our loved ones, and to the people of the world as a whole.

During these times we are doing more household chores. We can be more creative while performing these chores, for example putting on some fun music, and dancing to its tunes while cleaning or mopping is a sure way to burn calories and keep the endorphins high as well. Plus while doing these regular chores, we can train ourselves to practice mindfulness and give our 100% to the task at hand.

We can surely survive these trying times and come out of this with a stronger, bolder, and confident mindset. We should aim to create a more unified world, in harmony with nature, and realize that the entire humankind is one, and within us lies all the power and strength to bring a difference, this time by staying alone, together.

About the author

Ankit Gautam is a final year medical student at Government Medical College, Amritsar, Punjab, India. He has been at member of MSAI(Medical Students Association of India) recognized by IFMSA.

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