Pandemic Related Mental Health Issues and Possible Solutions
Since November 2019 when the warnings of a novel virus outbreak were sent out, we all have been through a tough phase. Quarantine, social distancing, isolation, lockdown – all desperate measures to contain the virus have become a household name. It’s been six months and the virus is showing no signs of slowing down thus escalating our fear and anxiety. The constant stress along with worrying could have devastating impacts on our mental health.
Mental health issues
1. Anxiety Disorder:
World Health Organization (WHO) and other psychological associations are creating awareness on the effects of the virus outbreak in an individual’s mental health. The virus that has spread globally has put all our lives at risk – no one is safe regardless of our nationality, race, age, lifestyle, or financial status. This fact leaves us vulnerable and further increases our mental health risks like anxiety disorders and elevated stress.
2. Depressive Disorder:
Next comes the lifestyle we are bound to live to outlive the pandemic – social distancing/ isolation. This remedial measure can actually aggravate symptoms of depression because living in isolation could increase the level of loneliness. Lockdown/quarantine restricts movement which could lead an individual to feel trapped. Many have also lost their livelihood and they are at risk of feeling worthless – yet another symptom of depression.
Related article: How to deal with depression
3. Substance Use Disorder:
Another aspect of losing a job is excess time in hands. People may become less productive and turn idle which is the proverbial workshop of the devil. This could become problematic for individuals who are prone to addiction. Added anxiety, increased stress and depression could lead people to resort to what may be considered quick-fix solutions like alcohol and drugs; increasing the risks of substance use disorder.
Related article: Three ways to beat alcohol addiction
- Social distancing does not apply to texting, calling and reaching out online. So if you are feeling lonely, please reach out to friends and family. If you are not feeling lonely, drop a line to your friends and family and check if they are feeling lonely.
- You can utilize this quarantine time to fix things in your house, read a book, or take up a new hobby. Restricted movement does not apply to indoor movement, so find activities to keep yourself busy.
- Job loss could be an opportunity to rethink or reorganize your career goals. There are lots of free online training sessions, webinars, and online classes – you have enough time in your hands now to equip yourself with new skills or enhance the skills you already have, and also finish the courses.
- If you are in self-isolation, how about giving meditation a try. You have time and space both to yourself so there will be no better time to start meditating than now.
- And if you cannot help but overthink, please use the STOP technique introduced by Cognitive behavioral therapy. All you have to do is say STOP aloud to yourself when you realize you are thinking too much. That’s it, just say STOP and your overthinking will stop. Try it!
- Seek professional help online if you need help to cope with stress. There are many online self-help groups, therapy services, similar-interest groups. Look out for options that can help you. Also, if someone you love needs help, seek and connect them with the available options.
Life is difficult now, but when has it been easy? We have always had problems, and we will always have problems. Still we have to continue living, we have to continue learning new ways, and we have to continue unlearning unhealthy practices. While we are staying indoors to keep ourselves physically healthy, let’s make sure it isn’t at the cost of our mental health.
Take care of your mental health, stay safe, stay alert!