The Coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing for sure: life is unexpected. The World Health Organization, along with healthcare professionals all across the world, are adamant that long after the pandemic has been brought under control, we will still have to deal with the long-lasting effects of the decline in mental health that the most of us are undergoing. Not even the best of psychologists, passed out from the best psychology colleges in India, could have predicted this, but here we are. Most people battle with anxiety, emotional distress, insomnia, disorientation, and OCD on a daily basis.
Moreover, the American Medical Association (AMA) has warned: “Physicians and other frontline health care professionals are particularly vulnerable to negative mental health effects, as they strive to balance the duty of caring for patients with concerns about their own well-being, and that of their family and friends.” The most disturbing factor, as it turns out, is the uncertainty behind the disease, especially the lack of vaccines and sure-fire treatment recourse.
The biggest mountain of a challenge right now is helping prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and treating it so that the country and indeed, the world, returns back to normalcy.
The first and foremost mistake that was made with this pandemic, was the underestimation of risk factors. The first case of coronavirus started as far back as in 2019, and believe us when we say, the virus wasn’t taken as a threat until mid-march i.e. 4 WHOLE MONTHS. So, the first step is to acknowledge the dangerous impacts of this horrifying pandemic and being cautious and safe, and most importantly, staying at home.
Having said this, it is wise to not ignore the toll on mental health that this pandemic might have induced. The coronavirus preventive, government-mandated lockdown in India has entered its third phase, and this has led to some serious mental health repercussions. The news about the rise of the death toll across the world, and in the country, can make us naturally fear the risk of losing near and dear ones.
The added prospects of the loss of employment, inability to pay rent/EMIs, and for some, the source of their next meal, can take a very heavy toll. Psychology programs in India and mental welfare organizations alike, have warned us about the psychological implications of this pandemic, staying at home, and the inability to roam with free will on mental health.
In addition to a deadly virus, there is another pandemic that needs to be battled i.e. the pandemic of misinformation surrounding the disease. Social Media adds fuel to the fire to misinformation. It has created such a bad stigma for people undergoing treatment for a disease they never wanted to catch themselves. It alienates those people and makes their loved ones feel absolutely horrible. Some psychiatrists are warning of the likelihood of increased emergence of paranoia, schizophrenia, and fear psychosis as the pandemic rages on.
Coronavirus is a disease that demands practising social distancing. This could particularly be a taxing thing to impose upon the youth and adolescents since they are not at all well-acclimated to conditions like these. This could give birth to very dangerous feelings of isolation, loneliness and ultimately helplessness.
There is only so much you can eat, watch, or be on your phone with. The future might seem to appear very bleak in times like these. Psychological issues will take no time to creep in situations like these. Proactive steps are to be taken in times like these to help with mental health. Many universities around the world are prescribing home-base activities to compensate for studies lost due to lockdown in order to gain grade points.
Everyone has their own psychological issues to deal with and most certainly, everyone will have a different reaction to the ongoing pandemic. However, it might just not be as gloomy and challenging as we might make it out to be. Here are some of the most common things you can try. We say you can try, because this is not a be-all, end-all guide to getting rid off your lockdown blues, but some of these have helped a lot of people. You just have to find what works for you.
- Try upskilling, try improving skills of your own profession before you go ahead and “learn something new”
- Circulatory exercise like yoga or physical workouts or exertion of any kind will help bring a little bit of stability to mind while it focuses on recouping the body.
- Instead of cooking delicacies, try preparing some wholesome meals.
- A spot of gardening helps you stay accountable and responsible for something besides yourself.
- Write out your feelings.
- Try helping out in the community or try to tend to elderlies in your house.
- Watch the movies you always wanted to watch
- Uplifting yourself with a bit of comedy content helps. This is not to be confused with the routine stuff we watch, it has got to do something that makes you burst into laughter.
- Indulge in a bit of nostalgia and story sharing with loved ones.
- Get in touch with a mental health professional
There are many challenges to the coronavirus pandemic, but the worst of them all, is our own mental health, which is much more complex to treat than any physical ailment. Stay safe!