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6 Ways To Take Care Of Your Mental Health Amid The Covid-19 Pandemic

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

It has been more than four months but the whole world is still grappling with the pandemic. Every day we are getting distressing news and images on social media. COVID-19 has brought many changes in our daily lives. These changes have not only been of staying at home, dining at our favourite restaurants, making vacation plans with friends and family but more than that. It has also directly affected our mental health.

We are currently living in a world where we are uncertain about the future. In our daily lives, many of us have become victims of stress, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, isolation, pressure, tension, work burden, and others. But many have been fighting these for the longest time that they can remember. We regularly hear rumours about the pandemic through social media (and even through our mainstream media) forcing us to think more, we are worrying about getting ill.

Tracy Browner, a sociologist, wrote an article in ‘Forbes’ where she talked about a study by Qualtrics. This study has been conducted in the UK on mental health crisis during COVID pandemic, it says that 67% people reported in the study that they are feeling higher levels of stress, 57% reported greater anxiety, 53% feel sadness in day to day life, 50% fell they are more irritable, and 42% reported that their overall mental health has declined.

I am a Ph.D. scholar. It’s been two months of lockdown, I still am not able to concentrate on my studies. I am regularly thinking and thinking but not working. Even if I work and suddenly get the news of one more positive case nearby it makes me stressful.

Although the study is based in the UK, it has significance globally. It is rational enough that we all are experiencing stress in our daily lives after the pandemic, one of my friends from Delhi has continuously been telling me from January that “if you are not stressful you are not paying attention to the news”.

In such a mental health crisis, WHO, state governments, and civil society organizations are suggesting strategies to cope from it. Mental health institutions like NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences), IMHANS (Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) and CIP (Central Institute of Psychiatry) etc have provided toll-free numbers to help individuals and families with the distress they are facing due to COVID-19. The current situation has become highly stressful for families who are living with a person with mental illness. Through the helpline numbers, the mental health professions are able to reach out to them as well.

Here, I would be talking about some strategies which may help us to deal with this mental health crisis.

a boy sitting in a park, holding his head down
Representational image.

Maintain Physical Distancing, Not Emotional Distancing

The government has told us to start practising social distancing to stop the transmission of the corona virus. This word ‘social distance’ has been used globally to maintain a physical distance of minimum one meter among individual. But I think we must maintain physical distance only rather than emotional. We need to be close to each other emotionally at such times. We need each other more than ever to get over the situation.

Educate And Update

Keeping oneself updated with the latest developments around the pandemic situation will help us educate those around us too. As I had mentioned earlier WHO, State governments and many other organizations have provided us with information to cope with the mental health concerns arising due to COVID19. This information can be used to help oneself and also others.


You are the only person who can help yourself to deal with your mental health. You have to take care of your body and mind. Good sleep, healthy food, regular physical activity, regular work (whichever work you are engaged in), reducing screen time and spending more time with family etc. are some strategies which may help us to take care of our mental health.

Stay Busy

It is basic psychology that when we are free we start thinking (especially have negative thoughts). So if we make ourselves busy in work then we may distract ourselves from these thoughts. Engage in productive activities at home to keep that stress level down.

Be In Contact With Family, Friends And Colleagues

If you are not at home, regularly speak over the phone with your family members, give them update about yourself and take from them too. If you are working from home then be in touch with your friends or colleagues virtually, ask them what they are working on? How they are dealing with the crisis? And share positive aspects of your daily lives.

Don’t Avoid Your Anxiety

If you think that your anxiety in this pandemic will go by its own, then you may be wrong and it may lead to a higher level of stress. So if you are worried about anything which is leading to your anxiety, talk about it to your trustworthy friends and if it still carries on take professional help.

These are some strategies which may help us to deal with our mental health concerns. We have to keep working on it. Take care of yourself and your family’s mental health.

Note- Author would like to acknowledge Mamta Yadav, MPhil Scholar at CIP Ranchi, for her contribution

Featured image is for representational purposes only.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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