The resurgence of COV- ID-19 cases in the country has again caused headache to the public who had just begun to recuperate from a long pandemic year.

While the economic crisis might draw much attention during the second wave of the pandemic in the country, maintaining one's mental health is the next big challenge for all.

Hence, a few Valley dwellers have come up with unique ways to keep their sanity during these hard times.

Shashwat Sapkota, a 30-year-old resident of Chabahil, seems to be much worried due to the growing number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country.

"The renewed fear of getting infected with the deadly virus is unnerving, and it's more difficult for me as a parent to a baby boy. I have this constant fear about my family and my health," added Sapkota.

Hence, he has come up with a new way for beating the pandemic fear - he chants spiritual hymns each morning.

"Chanting Vedic mantras (incantations) fills me with lots of positive vibes and helps remove all negativity accumulated in the mind due to the frequent news about coronavirus.

Chanting also gives me mental solace throughout the day as I feel protected by a spiritual aura all the time," he shared.

Sapkota, who works at an insurance company, shared, "Working online during last year's lockdown made me habituated to perform my tasks easily from home. Hence I don't have to remain lethargic like last time and can actively get engaged with my work."

This according to Sapkota will also help fill the mental void even when the country goes into the next lockdown.

Be it distance learning challenges or dealing with isolation and anxieties caused by the unabating coronavirus infections, students are among those suffering the most.

For Utsav Acharya, 20, a Bachelor's Ist Year student of Information Technology, last year's pandemic was "new and terrifying", but the second phase is "quite irritating and testing his patience".

Acharya, who mostly passed his time "binging on TV series and playing PUBG last year and is now fed up with them", said that quality time with his pet dog Leo this time around is helping him a lot.

"Leo is nothing less than a family member to me and he keeps me engaged all day long with his playful and adorable nature. My family and I regularly play ball with him at home which gives us instant relief from the pandemic pangs."

According to Acharya, the best thing about dogs is that they are like babies who never grow up and entertain constantly so one can easily mingle with them and take positive energy, especially during tough times like these.

Sharing ways on coping with the mental challenges during the second wave of pandemic, Dr Rishav Koirala, Consultant Psychiatrist at Grande International Hospital said, "Practising yoga every day is proven to be excellent for mental health, and hence, it's best for people staying indoors during the pandemic. Similarly, lending a hand to family members at daily chores and getting in touch with friends and relatives through social media can create lots of positivity."

Dr Koirala however cautions against indulging in drug abuse or alcoholism as a way of relief from mental stress since "this will further deteriorate one's physical as well as mental health".

"In order to help patients during these difficult times, we have set up a telemedicine system at our hospital through which those suffering from mental health problems can talk with us live and get immediate help," shared Dr Koirala.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 1, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.