Updated: Apr 30, 2020
It's 10.30 am on Wednesday in April month- usually a very busy time of day and month. While standing near the window, what I see outside is deserted streets and what I hear is pin drop silence. The roads are empty, with most people staying home. Needless to say, I’m home. It’s been more than 25 days; I’m working from my home. The people in my neighbourhoood too are following ‘Social or Physical Distancing’ and ‘Stay home’ guidelines imposed by the government and health authorities plainly. Thanks to Corona virus pandemic, the whole world has turned upside down. What we are seeing and living in the world today, none of us have had ever thought of in the wildest dream! WHO, the governments, health authorities and people- all are geared up globally to deal with the effects and consequences of corona virus pandemic. Until now, no specific treatment, medication or vaccine is available to cure this devastating infection, though.
Few months back no one heard and cared about the corona virus. In last 3-4 months world over 1 million people have been infected and over 100,000 deaths have occurred due to corona. Until now, coronavirus COVID-19 has affected at least 210 countries and territories around world. As news about the coronavirus outbreak continues to dominate the headlines and millions of people globally, we have been sternly asked to self-quarantine and stay home. Scientists have even warned we may need to live with social distancing for few months or a year or more. Nothing is actually predictable about corona pandemic, how far it will go and how much devastating it will be! In the wake of this pandemic, as per researchers we’ve two scary choices: practice social distancing for months or a year, or let hundreds of thousands die. It seems that the ongoing battle with corona virus is a long-lasting process and certainly not going to end very soon, despite of our want and need to do so. It’s a frightening fact, enough to disturb mental balance of many on the global arena. Lots of anxiety, depression and fear are gripping our minds.
Owing to stay home and social distancing measures, most of us are compelled to spend most of their time at home and making us deprived of our regular activities and lifestyle. Closed environment of four walls often induce feelings of claustrophobia (fear of confined place) and cleithrophobia (fear of being trapped). Working from home may not be a practicable option for all. Corona pandemic has displaced our lives as a whole. Global panic over corona virus pandemic is attributed to signiﬁcant factors such as crushed global economy, broken healthcare systems, projected food shortage, widespread infection and mortality, political damage, worldwide recession and post-corona situation, to list a few. We’re in midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and countries shutting down. No one is sure for what is in store in future! This uncertainty surrounding corona virus is the hardest to handle. The plight and predicaments due to corona pandemic has started causing mental health issues for significant population globally. It’s challenging to navigate this uncertainty, social separation and fear psychosis. Hence, in the face of this unique crisis, it’s very vital to manage our anxiety, fears, depression and stress and maintain mental health along with physical health.
The most practicable coping strategies that can be helpful to manage mental health are:
a. Don’t panic. Be pragmatic and aware about the facts of this crisis and behave rationally. Avoid the misguiding news and messages. Educate others also to do the same. Read, listen and convey the facts. Facts help reduce fears.
b. While realizing worth of physical distancing, social distancing can be tackled well by using modern technologies and media. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones to stay together in this difficult time using phone calls, messages or e-mails.
c. Stay happy, busy and active. Keep yourself busy doing rejuvenating and joyous activities of your choice. Sad, gloomy and negative approach can break you easily.
d. Stay home time can make you vulnerable to things like binge eating, laziness, frustration, overeating, unhealthy lifestyle, weight gain and negative thinking. Avoid junk eating and maintain physical and mental health by exercise and creativity. Weight watchers may freak out at scale going up nastily, rising stress.
e. Reinvent yourself- Many have reinvented themselves by indulging in the hobbies like drawing, painting, singing, dancing, gardening, indoor games during this pandemic. Many have been able to find out their hidden talents. Creativity definitely helps reduce anxiety, depression and stress during the crisis.
f. Best utilization of pandemic period- Corona Pandemic has been proved to be a good opportunity for many who are fruitfully using their time to learn new knowledge and skills in diverse life-fields. For many, it’s the time for consolidating themselves so as to bounce back with full force once the crisis gets over. They’re relaxing now to see themselves stronger and more energetic in future. They are busy in the strategy to convert this rest into vigorous force. So, resting is not rusting always, for sure.
g. Talk to your kids about pandemic facts- to reduce negative impact of corona virus crisis on them-physically and mentally. Engage them in productive work, creativity, art and knowledge building activities. This is the best family time one can have in life; utilize it in the most profitable way, sharing experiences and stories of the universe with them, enriching them to be polymaths.
h. Try to anticipate distress, gloom and discontent due to unending period of isolation. Customize stress management strategy that works best for you by managing the way you follow the outbreak in media and society.
i. Remember- Nothing last forever. This crisis will get over one day. Be positive, be patient and behave sensibly and thoughtfully till then. Help the needy while protecting yourself. Tough time doesn’t last, but tough people will!
Coronavirus pandemic is not only testing our capacity, patience and perseverance but, also checking competence of world’s strongest healthcare services. We’re experiencing a different kind of period in our life; it need not be bad one, though. Corona Virus Pandemic is bringing out the best and worst of all of us. We all need to protect ourselves and community by staying home and helping each other by physical distancing. However, stress, anxiety, depression or fear due to social isolation must not dampen our spirit to fight against corona pandemic. We are all together in this fight. Be positive, patient, aware and follow healthcare guidelines strictly- must be our mantra for successfully fight corona virus pandemic.
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