At around this time in 2019, most of us would have not been familiar with concepts such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown,’ which is the new normal that continues to impact us even now. The precarious nature of the pandemic has brought on a slew of both physical and mental health problems, across the world. The uncertainty surrounding one’s own health, the wellbeing of their family, job security, finances and the future still continue to persist as well. Moreover, the social media coverage and the incessant amount of inaccurate news adds to the increasing stress and anxiety experienced by many.
While mental health has always taken a backseat in India, the pandemic has shed light on the prevailing and newly growing psychological issues faced by the general population. A study by Roy et al. (2020) notes a significant increase in stress, anger, fear, depression and anxiety in the country. The rate of suicides were also noted to have increased. Thus, the results indicated a definite need for psychological interventions for the general population- if and only if the people can move beyond the stigma surrounding mental health.
Some tips to rise above the chaos:
Make a note of what you can and cannot control. Feeling anxious and fearful are normal responses to the unknown. Journaling is an easy and helpful way to jot your thoughts and make note of what you can and cannot control. For example, you can learn that while you cannot ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing, you can take care of your own health by following the same and carrying a sanitizer if and when you go out.
Limit exposure to media Other than limiting consumption of news and social media (which are the common sources of misinformation), muting family chats that include well-meaning but stress-inducing messages about the pandemic- can reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. If at all, get your news updates once a day from a reputable source, and then try moving on to more meaningful activities.
Social distancing ≠ Social Isolation Google Meet and Zoom are the new norm. Reach out to your family and friends every once in a while, even if it is through a text. One can attempt to be part of live events on social media apps like Instagram and Youtube, where even in times of physical distancing, one can be connected with others.
Engage in physical activity The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered most of us to remain cooped up at home for nearly two years now. While the days of gyming are almost a part of yesteryear, it is important that one engages in at least some form of physical activity to keep the body in an optimal state. Engaging in regular exercise can help one manage other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, along with COVID-19 prevention.
Seek help It is important to note that no one is alone during these trying times. There is always help available, to empower oneself. You can book your first session with us for free! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Simone is an intern at Vijayash Well Being who developed a keen interest in psychology right from when she began reading crime thrillers in 8th grade, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Clinical Psychology. Having worked in a number of mental health clinics, she believes that mental health awareness is of utmost importance in today's society, as it allows for a quicker intervention- if required- and then faster recovery.She believes that being respectful and accepting of individuals with any mental health issues can remove the strong barrier that hinders them from seeking help to deal with the problem.
Her hobbies include cooking and reading a variety of literature. Finally, if at all, you will always find a packet of biscuits in Simone's bag for all the stray dogs she might meet outside.