Wednesday, April 24

Mental Health During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed unprecedented hardship, like no other in recent memory. It has affected lives and livelihoods across the world. With growing concerns about healthcare, fear of infection and mounting financial losses, emotional distress and psychological concerns continue to manifest. The risks of Covid-19 mental health also remain a cause of concern. 

mental health symptoms

The pandemic has completely altered life as we knew it. From countrywide lockdowns to the adoption of work-from-home modules, the shifts have been rapid. People have been confined to homes and quarantine stress has also added to deteriorating psychological conditions. As widespread uncertainty looms and many have suffered due to job losses or pay cuts, the emotional outcomes have been severe. Healthcare providers around the globe are trying their best to alleviate such concerns 

Quarantine Stress a Major Cause of Mental Health Issues

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced a new word to our lives – Quarantine. Although used frequently in medical terms, it was not familiar in the public domain. Quarantine basically refers to a period when an infected person or a person suspected of carrying an infection is kept in isolation for a stipulated period of time. 

For instance, if you or a family member is affected by the novel Coronavirus, he or she will be required to stay in quarantine for a 14 to 21 day period. To curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, countries around the world were advised to follow certain safety protocols by the World Health Organization (WHO). While social distancing norms were adequately promoted, the need to quarantine infected people also became necessary. This was a major cause of anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health problems.  

People who were suspected to have come in contact with infected people were also advised to remain in quarantine. The fear was rampant and as people thought of spending time in quarantine, they were confused and frustrated. People suffering from psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety suffered from severe complications, especially in the absence of treatment during the lockdown period. 

The Stress of a Pandemic

A pandemic is an unusual event and most of us are not prepared for its consequences. This can have a far-reaching impact. Fear and anxiety are normal and it is quite likely to invoke strong emotions in children as well as adults. It becomes even more prominent when people are stopped from going out, enjoying day-to-day activities and start feeling the effects of loneliness and isolation. 

The outbreak of a serious disease sometimes give rise to the following emotions:

  • Excessive fear and anxiety about health, work and well-being of loved ones
  • Sleep disorders
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Failing health
  • Worsening of psychological conditions
  • Growing dependence on alcohol, tobacco or other addictive substances

How to Cope with Covid-19 Mental Health Problems

Just like we seek treatment from a doctor when we fall sick, it is an excellent idea to let people around you know about your mental health. Although it is recommended to get professional help as early as possible, in the absence of such assistance you can always rely on friends and family. Many people are scared of sharing their feelings. The social stigma attached to mental health is often damaging. 

But, you need to realize that it is not something to hide. It is not only necessary to take care of your health but, it is also of equal importance to prioritize mental health. Let’s take a look at some healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety. 

Contact a Healthcare Professional

If you are worried about being infected with Covid-19, try to get in touch with a healthcare professional. There’s nothing to panic. Just remember, it’s a virus that may affect anybody. Therefore, follow the safety protocols prescribed by WHO and ensure social distancing. In due course, you will be fit and fine.

Seek Information

Timely and adequate information can help relieve stress and anxiety. Know where and how to find treatment for your condition. If necessary, opt for telehealth services. You can also get access to counselling or therapy sessions online. These are extremely useful for people suffering from mental health issues or excessive stress during the pandemic.

Never Neglect Emotional Health

While you may be prioritizing your physical well-being, emotional health must not be neglected. Try to remain engaged in productive activity. Pursue a hobby, read books, listen to music or catch some shows on TV. All these activities will keep your mind away from the imminent threats of the pandemic and will help you to relax. 

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is the key to a fulfilling life. Start taking care of your body. Utilise the extra time in hand to indulge in physical activity, exercise, meditation and to cook healthy meals. Try to have well-balanced meals at all times. Avoid staying up late at night. Follow a fixed bedtime routine and try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep regularly. Above all, do not rely on alcohol, cigarettes or other harmful substances to alleviate your stress and anxiety. 

Talk to Friends

If your social life has been severely hampered by the pandemic, don’t let it take a toll on your physical and mental health. Connect with friends and family. Talk to them about everything that’s going on in your life and who knows, you might just get some excellent ideas to fruitfully utilise your time. Even with social distancing measures in place, you can connect with friends over video calls, chat online or get engaged with social welfare activities through social media. 

All these measures will help you to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. 

Steps to Take When You are Recovering From Covid-19

Covid-19 has affected millions around the world and the pandemic has been devastating. If you too had been infected by Covid-19, emotional reactions are quite common. However, once you are healthy, there can be a rush of mixed emotions. There may be some fear about your health and that of your loved ones. 

During this period, you may have been continuously monitored. As you move out of isolation, anger, frustration and sadness about fear of infecting others may rule supreme. You may also be worried about not being able to fulfil your duties properly due to the illness. Experiencing heightened bouts of anxiety or stress is also quite common. 

So, when you are recovering from Covid-19, do not let all these things cloud your mind. Simply take every day as a new challenge and keep your positivity alive. Being hopeful is one of the primary necessities of enjoying a successful life. It is also a good idea to get rid of the inferiority complex. Just because you had been infected, doesn’t mean you cannot get back to a normal life.

If you have any particular concerns, consult a psychologist or a counsellor. Online consultations are easily available and it is useful when you are recovering from Covid-19. Above all, be excited about the prospect of being able to be around others again. 

Going Back to Work

As the world returns to normalcy and the effects of the pandemic slowly wane away, it is time to return to work. This can again be a cause of concern for many. But, remember, everyone’s in it together. Talk to colleagues and friends at your workplace to alleviate your concerns. 

Most organizations will be concerned about the health of their employees. To make the transition from a work-from-home schedule to daily work smoother, communication will play a key role. If you employ others, try to foster a clear channel of communication between your firm and its people. Train employees in leadership positions to be empathetic. Allow them to organize team-building initiatives that build confidence. 

It is also important to pay heed to signs of mental distress during this period. If an employee has resumed work after a quarantine period, it is necessary to offer adequate support. Overall, every organization must be concerned about building an environment of trust and mutual understanding. Keeping aside the social stigma of mental health aside, it is a great time to talk about real problems.    

Often psychological conditions remain hidden. At times such as this, when the stress and anxiety levels are extremely high, it could lead to dire consequences. Therefore, connect with your employees even if they are working remotely. If you have been forced to reduce pay or have reduced the strength of your workforce, don’t let it bother the others. Instil a sense of confidence and reassurance to enable them to perform as per their capacity. 

Managing Psychosocial Impacts Key to Survival

During a pandemic, certain groups are more vulnerable to the psychosocial effects of an inadvertent circumstance. Healthcare workers, people with chronic illnesses, elderly people and those with pre-existing psychological conditions are more than likely to suffer during a pandemic. 

To overcome the mental health challenges posed during Covid-19, it is important to seek psychological support. So, stop worrying and with a positive mindset, you too shall easily tide through the tough times.  

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