The lockdown is already taking a toll on our mental health. Staying indoors for such an extended period of time is not easy for anybody. Even introverts like me are finding it claustrophobic at times. It is especially harsh on small kids, elderly and those who live alone.
“Isolation, physical distancing, the closure of schools and workplaces are challenges that affect us, and it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness at this time,” the director of the European branch of the WHO, Hans Kluge, said.
I am observing panic attacks in many. My cousin is regularly feeling breathless due to her anxiety issues. She is constantly reading the news and fake news that in turn is aggravating her anxiety. I work as a patient advocate and many of my patients are complaining that their symptoms have flared up. Any auto-immune disease like diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis is bound to flare up due to stress and anxiety. Those who already have pre-existing mental issues like schizophrenia, depression, OCD and PTSD are having it even worse. Lack of exercise and outdoor activity may aggravate a few medical conditions
The elderly people who live alone are having a tough time as well. Apart from physical issues, they are also feeling lonely and insecure. Those who own businesses, irrespective of small or big, and earn on a daily basis are suffering. Many are reporting that their blood pressure shot up or sugar level increased.
The irritation level is increasing as you have to stay locked up with the same people throughout. This is a real-life Big Boss house without any monetary benefit rather at the cost of huge loss.
Indian society is still patriarchal and housework is still considered a woman’s job. Indian women are used to having maids. In this situation, maids are not coming, kids, husband and probably in-laws are also home. Many women are spending the entire day just cooking and cleaning. If they are working then their whole day is going in a jiffy and unlike most, she has no time for ‘Netflix and chill‘. She is not even getting time to sip her tea without disturbance. It is normal for her to feel irritated.
This is a difficult time and we need to be strong. These are a few tips that may help you in this phase when it is natural to feel anxious and depressed.
Avoid obsessing over endless Coronavirus coverage: I personally stopped watching the news and tried to stay away from Corona news on social media and that helped me control my anxiety.
Start a new quarantine ritual: I love to stick to a routine and that helps me stay focused, It helps to have a new routine.
Clean the House: A healthy mind can reside in a clutter-free and clean house. Use this time to clean up your house. It will make you feel good about staying home.
Start Gardening using vegetables and fruits from your kitchen: Gardening is a stress buster and this is the best time to create some attachment with your home.
Talk to family and friends: Use technology to connect with family and friends. Call your old school buddy whom you have not spoken in a year. You will feel great.
Meditate/ Excercise: This will certainly help you manage stress and anxiety.
Get Creative: Unleash the Vinci, Bach, Shakespeare, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjeev Kapoor, Nigella Lawson, Lata Mangeshkar or Michael Jackson within you. This is the time to enjoy your hobby.
Let me know, how you are dealing with your stress, anxiety, and depression at this time. If you have any tips, please do share.