We cannot lose sight of an equally alarming issue while countries across the globe continue to mobilize their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. There is a considerable degree of fear and worry about the ongoing pandemic, as it has affected usual activities, livelihoods, and daily routines of many people worldwide. This has led to increased levels of loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, and harmful alcohol and drug use. This article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting mental health and what you can do to cope with your situation.
The Implication of COVID-19 on Mental Health
- Social Isolation
Social distancing and quarantine are very new to many people since before the Coronavirus pandemic, we were all used to shaking hands, visiting social places, and holding parties with our families and friends. The younger generation in particular was used to hugging, which is something they cannot do, as it is one of the quickest ways of spreading COVID-19. It is quite a big change that some people find difficult to keep up with. Social distancing has led to fewer personal interactions that can make it harder to control your stress, emotions, and anxiety.
Even though you might be working from home, being quarantined for a long time in your home can make you feel uneasy. This is especially true for extroverts who are outgoing and predominantly concerned with socializing. They are often considered by their friends as the ‘life and soul’ of the party and such people are not used to staying indoors for a long time. The fact that you cannot go to work, school, parties, or other social places can make you feel bored and you are already used to your current surroundings.
- Overconsumption of News and Media
People have constant access to the news all the time, which can be sometimes filled with inaccurate information that intensifies your fears. One of the key things in this whole situation is to get good quality information so that you know why you are required to stay at home, wash your hands, and maintain social distancing. This is not the best time to get information from social media as it is creating a lot of anxiety for people. If you are too anxious, you tend to behave in a way that is not in your best interest.
- Mob Mentality and Panic Buying
Ever since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, there was a lot of panic going around that has been worsened by mob mentality. It has influenced people to behave in an overly emotional way by those around them. Although it may sound like a good idea to stock up, hoarding too much can lead to shortages of supplies for others who need it the most. Some people may be stressed because of the belief that there are not enough supplies for everybody but in the real sense, there is. If you do not have enough supplies to last through the pandemic, you are more likely to get stressed because you are worried about survival and how you will feed your family.
- Stress About Finances
Many people are now out of work since all non-essential employees have been told to stay at home without any assurances of when they will go back to work. It is quite stressful going without a paycheck for months as it can bring up other financial troubles. Some individuals consider job layoffs and financial problems one of their leading causes of stress, which tells how extreme the situation has become. Not only does it affect your mental health, but it can lead to other health problems as well.
- How to Cope with Anxiety and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic
It is important to get good information from quality professional news organizations like the CDC, the World Health Organization that are both local and national. Social distancing and isolation through quarantine is the best thing to do now, as it helps to flatten the curve. You can still make good use of social media platforms to reach out to your friends and family. It is still possible to talk to your psychiatrist over the phone or audio-visual media to help you manage your condition. Budget with what you can and try to limit your expenses as you look for other alternative sources of income.
It is important to approach stress with a calm and practical perspective. In this time of difficulties, it is important to make your health a priority by taking the necessary precautions against the spread of the virus. Eat healthily, exercise regularly, and practice good self-care as often as you can. Too much anxiety can be detrimental to your health so it is important to control your actions and understand that you are doing your part to help everyone else.