The coronavirus pandemic (the global outbreak of coronavirus disease) is definitely stressful for people. Anxiety and fear about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Stress due to that outbreak of an infectious disease may include:
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
- Fear and worry about your own health, as well as the health of your loved ones.
- Worsening of an individual’s chronic health problems.
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.
- Worsening of the mental health conditions.
Everyone reacts differently to anxiety and low during a lockdown:
The way you respond to the outbreak may depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, as well as the community you live in.
People who might respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:
- Teens and children.
- Older people and people who are suffering from chronic diseases who are at higher risk for severe illness from coronavirus.
- People who are helping with the response to coronavirus, like doctors, other health care providers, and first responders.
- People who have some mental health conditions including problems with substance use.
For people at higher risk for depression during a pandemic:
People who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and senior citizens, and people with underlying health conditions or any chronic diseases are also at increased risk of stress due to coronavirus. The special considerations include:
- Mental health problems can be presented as physical complaints, such as headaches or stomach aches or cognitive problems, such as having trouble concentrating.
- Older adults, senior citizens and people with disabilities are at increased risk for having mental health concerns, such as anxiety or depression during the pandemic.
- Doctors may be more likely to miss mental health concerns among:
- Older adults because depression may be mistaken for a normal part of aging.
- People with disabilities due to a focused on treating the underlying health conditions, compared to people without any disabilities.
Common reactions to coronavirus pandemic:
- Having concern about protecting someone from the virus because they are at higher risk of serious illness.
- Having concern that the regular medical care or community services may be disrupted due to facility reductions or closures in services and public transport closure.
- Feeling socially isolated, especially if they live alone or are in a community setting which is not allowing visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
- Guilt if loved ones help them with activities of daily living.
- Increased levels of distress if they:
- Live in lower-income households or have language barriers.
- Experiences stigma because of race, age, ethnicity, disability, or perceived likelihood of spreading coronavirus.
- Have some mental health concerns before the outbreak, such as depression.
Support your loved ones:
Check in with your loved ones at times. Virtual communication could help you and your loved ones feel less isolated and lonely. Try to consider connecting with your loved ones by:
- Text messages.
- Video chat.
- Social media.
- Mailing letters or cards.
Help keep your loved ones safe:
- Know what are the medications your loved one is taking. Try to help them have a 4-week supply of medications in advance and over the counter medications, and see if you can help them have any extra on hand.
- Monitor other medical supplies such as oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care, needed and create a back-up plan to be prepared.
- Stock up on the non-perishable foods such as canned foods, dried beans, pasta, to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one who is living in a care facility or a quarantine centre, monitor their condition and speak with facility administrators or the staff over the phone. Ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Take care of your own emotional health as well. Caring for a loved one can take an emotional toll, especially during an outbreak like coronavirus. Stay at home if you are sick. Do not visit family or friends who are at greater risk for severe illness from coronavirus. Use virtual communication to keep in touch and to support your loved ones and keep them safe.
Take care of yourself and your community and ways to control mood swings during coronavirus:
Taking care of yourself, your friends and your family could help you cope with depression during a pandemic. Helping other family members or friends cope up with their stress could even make your community stronger.
Easy ways to cope with depression during pandemics:
- Take breaks from reading, watching, or listening to news and stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly could be upsetting for an individual.
- Take care of your body, eat healthy and exercise regularly.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
- Make some time to unwind. Try to do some other activities at home that you enjoy, such as watching a movie or playing video games.
- Connect with others on social media or through telephone. Talk with people who you trust, regarding your concerns and how you are feeling.
Don’t sweat the small stuff:
Being confined in our homes means that we can definitely lose our usual sense of perspective. This means we could get frustrated or saddened by the things that normally wouldn’t bother us much at all. We have to double down there, which is not easy at times. Even if you think a work seems incredibly important, stop. Notice and observe how you feel and then deliberately let it go. Do something else and indulge yourself somewhere else to control your mood swings during a coronavirus pandemic and there’s a good chance a few hours later it won’t matter as much.
Stick to healthy habits:
If you’re able to go outside for daily exercise in your lawn or in your garden, you may well find it helps recalibrate your mood. But indoor yoga, Pilates or dance may even alleviate negative emotions. Prioritise your sleep routine, eat as much healthy food as you can and try to avoid drinking too much alcohol during this tough time. The best way to keep your mood swings during coronavirus under control is to look after yourself by keeping to your usual routine of diet, sleep, exercise and other activities. If you have been prescribed certain medications for your mental health, then take them timely as advised.
Maintain a diary:
Some people find that writing down their thoughts and how they’re feeling could help them process their emotions and cope up with their depression during pandemic. It may be particularly useful if you’re feeling anxiety and low during lockdown. Write your tension and worries down and distinguish them in two camps: worries that you are able to realistically and practically address in the here and now; and ones about the more distant future over which you have no control over and only focus on the first ones.
Choose kindness over anything and you may well start feeling better. Doing something nice for somebody else and it would be a real mood boost. Perhaps reach out to one of your friends who you haven’t spoken to in a while, or look into volunteering opportunities in your local area to help the needy.
Ultimately, looking for good moments during these hard times could keep you grounded. Spend some time every day thinking about the things that you are grateful for and really glad that they happened. And be inspired by how communities and societies have rallied together in the crisis. Hope is incredibly important for every individual. For many in this time it would be frightening.
Knowing that this time would pass, and it surely will, gives us a sense that there is a future beyond this. Plan how you would commemorate and celebrate when all this is over. Understanding the risk to yourself and the people you care about could make an outbreak less stressful and less frustrating. Learn and share the facts about coronavirus and help stop the spreading of rumours. When you share accurate information about coronavirus, you can help make people feel less tense and less stressed, make a connection with them, and help stop stigma.
Take care of your mental health:
Call your healthcare provider or your doctor if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. People with pre-existing mental health conditions must continue with their treatments and medications and be aware of the new or worsening symptoms.
Exercise regularly to alleviate stress and keep your body and mind fit. Taking a lot of stress and putting pressure on your brain can make you feel anxious, which in turn would weaken your immunity and make you more vulnerable to catching the deadly virus. Make sure that you stay at home and don’t go out often, and if its an emergency, take the required precautions and avoid touching your face.
Tags: Coronavirus update, Coronavirus news, Depression during pandemics