The uncertainty and fear surrounding COVID-19 multiplies as new cases are being detected and quarantined each day. Coronavirus has made watching news increasingly stressful gripping nations worldwide into an unprecedented lockdown and citizens across nationalities practice stringent social distancing measures. Though social distancing and self-isolation is the key to mitigate the COVID spread, it can be stressful to stay at home with fear and uncertainty about the future.
Coronavirus has impacted several individuals as they experience physical symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, changes in appetite, sweating and trouble with sleeping. Others may find cognitive symptoms of stress which may lead to difficulties with the inability to control negative thoughts, recalling happy memories, problems with concentration, thinking about the ongoing uncertainty, and not seeing any positives.
The Common Triggers
These anxiety symptoms are our body and mind’s natural response to the rapid changes to our household, work, financial setting and emotional environments. This anxiety may get better with time as we adjust to this “new normal”. As the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching implications continue to unfold globally, it is normal for citizens across the world to experience fear and stress that revolves around the COVID-19 pandemic-
- Stressed or Overwhelmed
- Anxiety, Worry and Fear
- Racing thoughts on the Pandemic
- Loss of interest in Activities
- Increased heart rate, Anger
- Stomach upset, Fatigue
- Restlessness or Agitation
- Feeling helpless, frustrated and Irritable
- Difficulty in concentrating or Sleeping
- Feeling disconnected from loved ones
- Apprehension and Scare about going to public spaces
Susceptible High-Risk Population-
- Senior Citizens and Individuals with chronic diseases
- Young Children with weak immune systems
- Medical caregivers who are attending to COVID-19 patients
- Individuals with mental health conditions, including substance abuse
Taking the high-risk exceptions aside, COVID-19 is equally dangerous to all age groups across geographies. Here are stress management tips that each one of us can follow-
Strategies to cope with Stress, Anxiety and Distress
When things are uncertain the best way to cope is to be concerned about the things which we can control. Here are some pointers which can help you to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing during this challenging time of the Coronavirus crisis-
Stick to a Routine
Making a routine for your family helps to attain that perfect work-life balance. This holds true with the Coronavirus crisis. The kids are being out of school, parents working from home, routines need to be planned.
Try to have the meals together, and watch / cook with the entire family around. Having a healthy routine goes a long way to build a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Go back to basics stick to eating healthy meals, incorporate physical exercise, get enough sleep, and do things that you enjoy.
Acknowledge the power of Social Distancing
Social distancing is not only recommended by the national Governments, but even the WHO and other international organisations stand by the power of Social Distancing during COVID-19. Social Distancing is one of the most important actions we can all take to protect against infection and prevent the virus from spreading including self-isolation and practising good hygiene.
Limit Social media and News
Watching the news every hour will only add to uncertainty and anxiety. Add to it the regular updates on the Economic uncertainties and the pressure of comprehending the new cases detected with an increasing number of closed cases in terms of deaths. Most people have hooked on to social media for COVID—19 updates and share them on their status or social media groups adding to the stress of the other group members.
Restrict the limit on how long you should be watching the news and trust only the reliable sources of information to avoid the fear and uncertainty which can be caused by misinformation.
Find out time for Yourself
Devoting a dedicated time to oneself is equally important, especially if you / your spouse have a work from home and have kids to handle. Try to set aside time for yourself where you can take up a hobby like music or painting or baking or something that will help you relax.
Try to incorporate mediation / yoga to your daily regime. A 30 min power yoga or meditation goes a long way to make you composed and calm from within. Relish your favourite food or watch a TV show or a series, whatever that will help you unwind.
Join the virtual Meetups or Playdates
Use technology like Skype, Face time etc to connect with your loved ones. Virtually meet your family, friends and well-wishers you love. Arrange a virtual plat meet up for your kids who are missing their friends from school or best friend from community, collaborate with other parents to arrange virtual play-dates.
Taking and discussing with others is a great support in these tough times. Spending time with supportive family and friends can bring calmness and a sense of comfort. Share your concerns, feelings and thoughts with others. This can also help you find impactful ways of positive thinking or dealing with a stressful situation .
Contribute and Help
Show empathy towards everyone around, friends, family, or vulnerable people are all going through the same fear and uncertainty that you are feeling. Extend a helping hand which can foster a sense of purpose, meaning and hope. Some ideas can be to:
- Cook, pack and deliver a meal to someone in your neighborhood like the security staff, who are working round the clock to ensure your safety.
- Sending someone you care about an empathetic message that builds encouragement.
- Donating for a cause.
Physical distancing is not Social disconnection. Leverage the power of technology to be in touch, your loved ones are just a call away. Stay connected to give and receive support over a video call.
At the current scenario, it is very important to recognise the seriousness of COVID-19, the threat it poses to the public health challenge. Dispel the fear away. Looking after our well being in times like this can help to reduce stress and is crucial in enabling us to still take calm and effective action amidst this global crisis.
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