The rapidly changing environment around COVID-19 and the constant stream of news stories can increase stress and anxiety of our daily lives. The current challenges brought about by COVID-19 for people all around the globe are unparalleled and have caused fear, anxiety, and uncertainty for so many of us. We are going through this together, and it is essential to understand that you are not alone.
It has been over eight months since the coronavirus spread across the globe. It has left millions dead in its wake while infecting billions. In addition to that, it has wholly crippled the world economy. To counter the coronavirus, a worldwide lockdown has been imposed to break the chain. As a result of the lockdown, people are forced to stay indoors. However, apart from the physical hazard, the COVID-19 is slowly starting to take its toll on the mental health and wellbeing of people.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 may be causing you to stress and worry. Coronavirus can stir up all kinds of feelings. A little stress can be helpful as it can be the motivator that keeps us self-isolating or washing our hands. However, constant or high levels of stress can negatively affect our mental and physical health.
How Can Quarantine Strain Your Mental Health?
Taking care of minds is always essential, but doing so in the middle of a pandemic can be tricky. When the world is experiencing a crisis, things can become stressful. Social distancing is the need of the hour and is extremely vital in protecting yourselves and others as it flattens the curve and slows down the coronavirus from spreading. However, social distancing tends to strain our mental health.
Therefore, let’s have a look at how the quarantine can strain our mental health.
- Mental Worry
The combination of social distancing and worry can take a negative toll on our pre-existing medical health condition. Loneliness is known not only to increase pre-existing depression and anxiety but can also lead to a decrease in the functioning of the immune system.
- Mob Mentality And Panic Buying
The panic going around is worsened by a mob mentality, which is when people are influenced to behave in an overly emotional way by those around them. Even though stocking up sounds like a good idea, hoarding too much will lead to a shortage to others who need it.
- Emotional Isolation
Social distancing means we have to keep a fair amount of physical between ourselves and others. It’s the responsible thing to do to flatten the curve. But it is physically isolated leads to emotional isolation. Loneliness is the last thing anyone wants to feel in times of crisis.
Although it seems trivial, the bore down caused by the lockdown and social distancing rules can have severely affected your mental health. You may be slowly running out of ideas as to what you can do every day. Ever since the social distancing movement started, every day has begun to feel more prolonged than usual. Lack of sufficient engagements with your surroundings can potentially lead to irritation which can cause stress and anxiety.
- Increased Family Toxicity
Staying home for an extended period could increase pre-existing toxicity within family relationships. If you are living in a toxic home environment, the enforced lockdown can make these relationships worse. Spending ample time at home can increase toxicity within families.
- Uncertainty And Interrupted Routines
The uncertainty and interrupted routines can bring about stress and panic. For many, including college students and employees around the world, the sudden pandemic has forced to mass closure of schools, colleges, workplaces, and industries. This can leave a looming feeling of uncertainty such as the uncertainty of their job status; especially for those who are working to make ends meet.
- Overconsumption Of News And Media
People now have constant access to the news all the time. However, sometimes the report can be filled with inaccurate information that only intensifies our fear. So, make sure your sources are credible and factual, especially when you are sharing it online. While it is good to stay informed, overconsumption of news and media can take a toll on your mental health.
How To Protect And Improve Your Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
While numerous factors can affect your mental health and wellbeing during these challenging times, there are several coping steps which you can take, which will help you protect and improve your mental health during these challenging times.
Therefore, here are some of the coping mechanisms that will help you protect your mental health
- Start Your Day Well
It can be tempting to reach for your phones and switching on the applications first thing in the morning. However, starting the day with a simple mindfulness exercise can help you check in with how you are feeling and to connect with your environment.
- Stay Connected
Social distancing is essential, but it can lead to a person feeling emotionally as well as physically isolated and depressed. Therefore, stay connected with the community and your loved ones through the multiple digital platforms and social media applications available around you. Try taking time to check-in by phone, text, or a simple video chat.
- Try To Limit Your Consumption Of News
While keeping up to date is essential, rumours and misinformation can add to your worry. Therefore, you should only rely on trusted sources and proven facts. Instead of referring to multiple news applications on your phone, you should opt for reading the newspaper every morning. This will help you stay updated as well as keep you away from unnecessary and misleading information.
Many of us think about this lockdown as an extended vacation you’ve always wanted. Therefore, people have been doing all the things they haven’t done in a while. And eating their favourite food is one of them. However, it is equally vital that you stay fit during this pandemic so that your immune system is sharp and well oiled. Therefore, start exercising and gradually increase your workout. There are several exercises which you can do at home, which will help you stay fit and keep you protected from the coronavirus.