As the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly finds its way around the world, so is a disruption in the lives of the majority of people across the globe. This sudden disruption is highly likely to have a huge impact on the mental health of these people. In order to ensure that we stay mentally healthy, it is paramount that we understand how Covid-19 is affecting mental health. The following are ways the pandemic is affecting mental health.
Can lead to anxiety disorder
The Covid-19 outbreak has created a lot of uncertainty around every aspect of our lives. Besides worrying about our own health, we are also worried about the health of our loved ones. The stability of our future is uncertain in terms of work, finances and the social circles we had created for ourselves. All this is bound to cause anxiety in our lives. While it is normal to feel anxious under stressful conditions such as this pandemic, the degree that it has impacted our lives can shift our anxiety levels to the highest. And it is highly likely to be worse for those people who are already battling with anxiety disorder.
Prolonged distress can lead to depression
The Covid-19 pandemic is growing by the day, the fight seems to be unending. As it continues to get bigger, most businesses have been forced to close down or to downsize, sending millions of people home without any source of income. Others have their loved ones trapped in other locations and are unable to travel due to travel restrictions put in place by authorities in most countries. We also fear to contract the virus, and for those who have already contracted it, there is the stigma that comes with it. We have lost people in our families and community, and it is sad that restricted movement has denied most of us physical consolation from our friends. All these have left us in distress, wondering when this pandemic is going to come to an end. This continued distress can cause serious psychosocial disorders such as depression.
It can trigger conditions such as schizophrenia
Among measures recommended to fight this pandemic is social distancing. This means that we can no longer engage in community activities that we are used to, our normal routines have changed and we can be physically isolated from our loved ones if we are suspected to have the virus. These situations can cause our minds to lose touch with the reality and even lead to schizophrenia. For people who already have this condition, getting medication can prove difficult during this period leading to relapse or the condition worsening.
What can we do about it?
Thankfully, mental illnesses do not have to take a toll on us; the following tips can help us stay mentally healthy.
Build up our assertiveness
Enrolling in assertiveness training programs can greatly influence how we express our moods and thoughts. It also builds self-esteem and confidence and improves assertiveness. These can alleviate anxiety and depression as well as the adjustment disorder that Covid-19 is likely to cause.
Get news from reputable sources
Most people come up with all types of rumors concerning the virus and post it in social media. Rumors and speculation cause anxiety and can lead to depression. It is paramount to only follow the news that comes from reputable sources. If social media becomes so overwhelming, it is advisable to regulate the times we visit those pages.
Connect with loved ones
In this time of social distancing, we mostly lack physical company and support. It is important that we keep the communication going using the available means such as telephone, email and social media. Checking out on family and friends regularly can help with staying sane ourselves. If you are located away from them and, now that the flight restrictions have been removed, book a flight reservation as soon as possible before the prices go up, and pay them a visit. This will help you with your mood.
Take care of our bodies
Our bodies are most vulnerable to mental illnesses due to constant worrying during this Covid-19 pandemic period. It is most important to take care of our bodies at this time. Exercise regularly, get enough sleep and take a balanced diet. Self-management strategies such as yoga and meditation can go a long way in limiting the risk of anxiety and depression.
Maintain regular routine
For schizophrenia patients, it is important to maintain regular routine as much as possible. Ensure that there is enough medication to last about two weeks so that treatment is not disrupted. It is important to continue assuring the vulnerable people around us that all shall be well.
Mental health is important for our general wellbeing. It is important that we keep track of our mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. If we find that we are constantly worried, the anxiety is leaving no room for other activities or the sleep and eating patterns are changing, it is time to seek help.
Lirika Hart is a young ambitious girl who has been researching self-development for the past three years and is now focusing on her career. Her mission is to inspire others to live their dreams and be the person to whom they say; “Because of you, I never gave up.”