While people are staying at home all around the world, either by their own will or on government orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, experts say being active is now more important than ever, especially when it comes to mental health.
With more and more confirmed cases and states of emergency or curfews being declared, such quarantines take a toll on humans because socializing is an essential human need, says Ayşe Sena Sarıdoğan, a psychologist at Istinye University Medical Park Gaziosmanpasa Hospital in Istanbul.
"Being unable to leave the house will prevent us from socializing. So when we need it, it will be useful to speak with our loved ones over the phone, online or video chat," she said.
On how best to protect our mental health in such difficult times, she said young people or the elderly can actually do many things they were previously unable to do due to a lack of time.
"We can be stronger if we can keep our external resources (hobbies, sports, etc.) more diverse and robust against stress," she said.
She also warned that attention should be paid to sleep patterns and a balanced, healthy diet.
Sarıdoğan advised the elderly to solve puzzles and read books to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Meanwhile, clinical psychologist Gamze Dağar points out that distinguishing between "taking measures" and "unrestrained limitations" is very important for mental health.
"For instance, the most preliminary method of disinfecting the skin's surface is the knowledge that it is necessary to clean your hands with soap and water. However, when anxiety levels are out of control, people can start experiencing different skin conditions by overusing disinfectants or cologne," she said.
For that reason, Dağar emphasized that keeping anxiety in check and remaining calm is very important for mental as well as physical health.
"Listening to your body after you have taken all hygiene measures, whether you have any coronavirus symptoms or not, and when you realize there are no sound indications that you have COVID-19 will help ease your anxiety," she added.
She said anxiety levels may be higher in older people compared to others and dementia patients may especially be affected more negatively.
"In this case, changing the agenda and performing different activities with other family members and relatives will have a positive effect," she said.
Dağar recommended doing different activities that suit the individual's personality.
"They can watch TV series and movies or read books, skill-related activities such as painting, composing music, experimenting with different recipes, doing physical exercise and designing plans for your life."
She also stressed that the positive psychological aspect of this pandemic can manifest itself in the long term.
Saying this period has this "intensive pace of life, relationships with each other, understanding each other, living together, taking common actions and social awareness can be revived," she added.
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