The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown have now been impacting people’s mental health. It has created new barriers, especially for ones already suffering from a psychiatric illness. The lockdown is an absolute necessity to contain the virus. But poor mental health during this phase doesn’t have to be. As the virus wears on, and we are in greater isolation distress, it becomes our responsibility to support and manage our well-being better.
These uncertain times have evoked some strong emotions in us: fear, anxiety, grief, and trauma. The bombardment of worst-case scenarios online can further induce fear and panic. And if you are stuck in a dysfunctional environment, you are more likely to feel trapped by stress or anxiety. Or if you are an older adult, you may be coping with stress and anxiety due to the pandemic. Besides this, the new realities of our new virtual lives – virtual work, virtual classes/school, etc. – are only add-ons to our slumping mental health.
Mental Health Risk During Social Isolation
Closure of non-essential places and stay-at-home orders for all has been an essential step to maintain social-distancing. But social isolation can exacerbate the existing issues like anxiety and depression for which our generation is already known for. It can also lead to a different mood state of – loneliness. And, to top it all, the uncertainty, fear, and cynicism of the future can disturb your mental peace.
To avoid such dire situations to occur in the first place, you should
- proactively maintain a daily routine and not let the days merge into one
- stay connected with friends and family via technology
- keep your body active, exercise daily
- spend time doing activities you enjoy
Mental Health Risks Due To Media
The onslaught of COVID-19 related information, primarily via social media, can feel relentless. And it can be even worse for people already dealing with anxiety and/or OCD. Reading a lot of news or excessive use of social media can induce fear and lead to panic attacks. Yet, we feel compelled to use the media to stay informed or entertained, or just to stay connected with family and friends. But heavy social media use, especially in such gloomy times, can trigger the risk of anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-esteem issues, etc.
To prevent such situations, you should
- limit the news you read, and stick to authentic, reliable sources only (facts minimize fear)
- limit online screen time, track the time of use, disable social media notifications
- change your focus to your offline interests
- use media productively as an aid to your offline interests
Mental Health Risks In Kids
The shutdown of schools has been affecting the kids and, subsequently, their parents/ guardians. With the lockdown in place, a child’s accustomed physical and social structure is disrupted. The stress caused by such dramatic changes in their environment can affect their mental and emotional well-being. And low opportunities to engage with peers in person, or excessive use of social media, etc. may lead to an increase in mental health issues among students.
To help your kids, you should make sure they
- try to maintain the school routine at home with online classes
- allot a maximum limit on their screen time, especially on social media
- involve them in daily household chores
- help them pick up new hobbies and keep them engaged with the old ones
- listen to your kids and try to understand issues they may be facing in such unprecedented times
Mental Health Risks in Older Adults
Due to their excessive vulnerability to the coronavirus, the social distancing and lockdown rules are more stringent for older adults. These conditions may limit their social interaction with their loved ones or caregivers. And this may increase their feelings of stress, fear, and uncertainty due to the pandemic, leading to anxiety, loneliness, and depression.
Hence, you should regularly gauge their mental health. To help them not become too overwhelmed and rather stay buoyant, you should make sure they
- are physically active (light home workouts and walks can be beneficial)
- get the right nutrition
- stay connected with their loved ones via technology
- engage in activities they enjoy (reading, listening to music, etc.)
- limit exposure to news and media, stick to reliable sources only
Mental Health Risks in Family-Quarantine
Being with family and loved ones during such testing times can be a source of strength. It is a good time to bond with them and revive the connections. But if a family member exhibits toxic behavior, it can inevitably eat up your energy and self-esteem. Other than this, disrupted routines and families confined in closed quarters can lead to ‘cabin-fever’ in general. And it can take a further toll on your mental health.
For self-preservation, you should
- identify your triggers and blind spots
- set clear boundaries
- step away from triggering situations
- stay connected with your emotional support systems (like other family members or friends)
- pick up new hobbies and rekindle the old ones
- maintain a self-care routine
These are only fugitive solutions to deal with psychological considerations during these grim times. They can help you to a certain extent. But reaching out for assistance when you are overwhelmed is ideal and more fruitful and worthwhile. To deal with the looming mental health crisis, a holistic approach is required. But is it possible to seek help all while maintaining social distance? Fortunately, teletherapy or online therapy is the answer to this paradox. Teletherapy is an absolute necessity of the present time if you want to adjust to the new normal. And we at MBS Holistic Clinic are offering online counseling services to help you deal with the COVID-19 and the resulting mental health pandemic better. This high-quality institution can aid you to uplift your sinking mental health. A healing experience that is both soothing and lasting is the need of the hour. And at MBS Holistic Clinic, we vow to deliver the same. Remember, social isolation doesn’t necessarily mean emotional isolation. Our qualified professionals are only a call away. Reach out to us at 7338270009 or 8884764898 to know more.