In these uncertain times, you could find yourself anxious, stressed and nervous about the future. Researchers have observed that large scale disasters such as pandemics, tend to cause an increase in mental health issues such as depression, substance abuse, and behavioural disorders.
The regular news of the current COVID-19 pandemic, with its vast number of infected cases as well as casualties, is mentally affecting more people each day.
The link between lockdown and anxiety
Lockdowns have been imposed by certain countries including India in order to contain the spread of the virus. Long durations of being indoors lead to feelings of restlessness, annoyance, financial pressures, isolation, boredom and disinterest.
These feelings are completely natural and reasonable and reflect our want for survival. That said, it is important to keep in mind that although worry is normal, panic can prevent us from being rational/logical, which are skills we need at times of such difficulty.
Is the COVID-19 anxiety getting to you? The following are some ways to help keep your mind calm.
1. Limit your news/media exposure: We are constantly exposed to the extensive information about COVID-19 through the news, social media, discussions with family and friends. Constant exposure to such news creates negative effects such as feelings of anxiety, fear and stress. Take measures to ensure that you are away from receiving and spreading rumours and false information.Follow reliable news resources. Avoid watching the news all the time but stay updated regarding the guidelines and precautions advised by the Ministry of Health and local public health authorities.
2. Plan activities with your family: The lockdown has given us the opportunity to spend time with our families which was not possible earlier, because of our hectic lifestyle. However, spending too much time together also has its drawbacks. Irritation, anger and frustrations arise because we are restricted from going out.
Try and plan fun and relaxing activities which the whole family can participate in, such as board games, movies, arts and crafts, or even exercising. Children tend to get irritable since they cannot go out and play, so engage them in activities like games or involve them in household activities. This will help in keeping them occupied as well as ensure more helping hands for household chores.
3. Stay connected: Take out some time during your day to connect virtually with your near and dear ones who stay away, especially those who are elderly or alone. Catch up with your friends or social circle online through video calls. Check up on the elderly or disabled in your neighbourhood and offer to help if they need something. Such deeds will have a positive impact on your mental state.
4. Relax and Meditate: You do not have to be occupied all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break and do nothing but relax and breathe. Set aside some quiet time for yourself where you can do something relaxing like taking a long bath or reading a book. Practices such as yoga and meditation are very beneficial in case you feel overwhelmed or anxious.
5. Focus on Positive thoughts: In these difficult times, it is very easy to focus on the negatives and get stressed. Instead, try and distance the negative thoughts and focus on the positive aspects of your life. Consider keeping a gratitude journal and list down things you are grateful for. Do not overburden yourself with tasks to do; instead, set reasonable deadlines and try to achieve them. Reward yourself for your small achievements.
If you still feel increasingly stressed and overwhelmed by the current COVID-19 pandemic situation and your mental health issues go on for days without getting better, you may contact COVID-19 national psycho-social toll-free number at 080-46110007 or consult your doctor or mental health professional.
Lupin has also launched a ‘Jan Kovid’ Helpline (1800-572-6130) for the citizens of Mumbai to resolve queries about COVID-19 and help those suffering from stress/anxiety. Backed by a team of general physicians, psychologists, respiratory physicians and psychiatrists, the helpline number will offer free consultation and respond to all queries related to COVID-19. The service is available in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and English, and will be operational all days from 8 am – 8 pm.
Incorporate these tips in your daily life to keep anxiety at bay and tide over the lockdown period. Above all, stay indoors to protect yourself.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.