Updated: Jul 21
While there is hope around the world as more and more people get vaccinated as days pass by. The excellent word; we see a change coming in a few months. The bad news; the effect coronavirus has on all of our mental health might be here to stay for a long time.
The number of people who have reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, or confusion has increased drastically. And to make matters more worsening, the registered patients are more women than men.
If you ask how much time will it take to get things any better, then we can safely say that it's too early to predict that because of the lasting impact these calamities can cause. If we look back at the survivors of the previous catastrophes of the world, for example (SARS and Ebola), then studies show us that mental health issues took more than a decade to recover in some patients completely.
Mental health does not have the same symptoms in every other person. Every individual will have their symptoms and care regimen.
Covid-19 and Mental Health
Your mental health may not necessarily start decreasing amidst the pandemic. If you were diagnosed with depression or anxiety pre-pandemic, you might see a spike in your symptoms due to tension and darkness everywhere.
Here is how mental health patients can feel a point in their symptoms due to the pandemic-:
Life-threatening situations and self-isolation can take your anxiety symptoms for an overdrive. If you are a mental health patient suffering from anxiety or depression, this may be the time your symptoms take a spike.
Sometimes certain disorders may trigger certain emotions. For example, people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder may find it extremely hard to survive in an environment of frequent hand sanitizing and fear of germs.
People who had to go through a self-isolation period may go through these type of symptoms-:
Have you ever felt isolated during the coronavirus pandemic? It is not even a question one should have to answer. Some people had to isolate themselves due to quarantine measures. Some had to because of job or distance from the family may have experienced social isolation, making you feel very lonely and anxious.
Loneliness has often associated with increased chances of mental health issues.
Loneliness can also increase the chances of insomnia due to stress and anxiety.
During the pandemic, a lot of older people were at a higher risk of severe illness. Simultaneously it has been shown that the young generation was more likely to exhibit symptoms of anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.
People who tested covid positive had to go through mental health symptoms such as:
If you were one of those who tested positive, the coronavirus might have experienced more pronounced mental health side effects. Studies worldwide showed that covid patients developed symptoms of insomnia, dementia, and depression within a couple of months of diagnosis.
Long-hauliers or people who have experienced lingering effects months after their diagnosis may experience neurological side effects like confusion, brain tingling, and numbness.
Self Care Strategies
Self-care strategies are critical at times like these when there is stress, anxiety, and fear all around you. There are some tips to keep your body and mind stable and healthy and keep anxiety and stress at bay.
Taking care of the body
Get enough sleep: Try to get enough sleep to rest your body and mind and maintain a schedule throughout the day, even if you stay indoors.
Please do plenty of physical activities: Physical exercises or any fun training and involves some movement keeps your body and mind at work and relaxes it. You can work out or dance or walk on your terrace or backyard.
Eat healthily: Choose a healthy balanced diet for you with as less oily and junk food as possible. Try to minimize caffeine intake as it may increase stress and anxiety level.
Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs: Smoking is harmful to your health, and if you keep on taking it, you are at a higher risk of covid infection. Alcohol reduces the coping levels in a person, thus making you vulnerable.
Relax and recharge: Keep a certain amount of time for yourself and try to enjoy solitude. Meditate for at least 15 minutes and enjoy relaxing music.
Take care of your mind.
Keep your routine: Keeping in a pattern is sure to make you feel in control. Wake up at a scheduled time, eat healthy at regular intervals of time, stick to a schedule for other activities such as bathing, exercise, studying, working, etc. It will keep you busy and in control of your mind and life.
Limit your exposure to news or media: Listen to news channels only at specific periods and do not stick to television or media for the whole day. The statement, which is full of covid throughout the day, may heighten your fear and anxiety and may lead to decreasing health problems.
Stay busy and focus on positive thoughts: Staying active is one way to stop giving in to anxiety and fear and keep your mind in control. Enjoy your hobbies and learn something new which piques your interest and keeps you busy. Keep your focus on positive thoughts, and do not dwindle on negative thoughts for too long.
Set priorities: Do not be afraid of learning new things and developing challenges for yourself. Try to set goals for yourself to achieve while you are at home and give yourself credit for what you have achieved.
How does coronavirus affect those with chronic mental illness?
If reading the stats about daily suffering, covid deaths, and illness around the world make you feel scared or nervous, multiply it by a hundred to understand how it must feel to be in these situations with those suffering from anxiety or mood swings. Also, some people may have behavioral disorders like ADHD and OCD, and substance abuse can increase stress, fear, and triggers that can make matters worse.
Get help when you need it.
If you think that mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression will go away on their own, you are only worsening the situation. You need to be upfront about it and get help whenever required -:
Call or connect to a close friend or a loved one. You may find it hard to talk about at first, but then you only need to take that little step.
You can try to seek a psychotherapist or a counselor to talk about it.
Call for an appointment to get some advice or guidance. You can talk virtually during these times of covid.
If you are ever feeling suicidal or hurting yourself, please seek help. Connect to any medical advice, professional service, or psychotherapist and talk to them. The first step is the hardest, but the journey starts here.
This pandemic has had a scathing effect on our lives, both mentally and physically. It has both short and long-term implications for people suffering from mental health and substance abuse. But we should be looking ahead. As the vaccination phase has started worldwide, there's a glimmer of hope that everything is going to be okay. And it shall.
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