Mentally and Menstrually: Minding our Minds during COVID
My last article pointed out the severe insufficiency in the provision of menstrual products for migrant labourers and poor women, but it won’t take long to recognize that this pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of all menstruating women.
Mental health does not see gender, but dealing with a pandemic especially during that time of the month, makes menstruating women more susceptible to mental health problems. Due to the pandemic the anxiety increases, and the mood swings get worse, for menstruating women, because there are no distractions to deviate from the situation. Furthermore, having to deal with going outside, or running out of menstrual products may aggravate their anxieties.
In fact, mental health during covid is such a widespread issue that even the WHO and the government of India have covered it extensively. There is negative news flashing every second and many doctors suggest that increased anxiety has adverse effects on the menstrual cycle. Studies show that women with anxiety are more likely to have shorter menstrual cycles. Irregular cycles are linked with depression and eating disorders. Along with dealing with the sensitive situation, women have to maintain their health and well-being during their menstrual cycle.
Mental health not only affects the menstrual cycle but causes declivity in a woman’s overall reproductive health. Depression, anxiety, and stress can also affect the hormones that control ovulation, this could make it difficult for women to get pregnant.
What are the solutions? How can you remain mentally healthy during the lockdown?
Start with getting enough sleep. Although the pandemic has changed our schedules drastically, the morning birds have switched to night owls, this can have long term effects on menstrual health. This may seem like an obvious solution, but all resources guiding people on how to be mentally fit and healthy mention this fact frequently. Another fix, is to get enough exercise. Along with keeping you physically fit, exercising produces hormones that keep you mentally healthy. Keep support around you, and check in on them too. Start with a small group of people, and make sure they are doing great. Consequently, if you need help don’t hesitate to reach out, because they will be there for you too. It is extremely important to not become socially isolated, but to remain physically isolated only. Another vital point is to make sure you consume healthy food, and maintain a healthy diet. Especially while menstruating doctors suggest eating an iron rich diet. These steps may seem small and insignificant, but they do have a large impact in your lifestyle.
Moreover I would say it’s important to maintain a routine, and change it up sometimes so as to have a break from the monotony.
Periods are already a sensitive time, and we can all agree that the pandemic has adverse effects on a woman’s mind and body. Reach out to someone around you, because maybe that's all it will take for them to have a break from their negative thoughts. If you need help, don't hesitate to reach out, there are plenty of people around you.
Your illness doesn’t define you, your strength and courage does.
Written by Triya Ghosh
Graphics by Anashwara Mandalay