Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 31 March 2020:The recent spread of COVID 19 has brought a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability and unknown fear around the world. The mass spread of the illness and the number of casualties are causing a dreadful feeling of helplessness amongst people everywhere, fearing for their futures.
There are mixed news of hopefulness, light at the end of the tunnel and unknown fear which leaves everything uncertain. Moreover, restriction of movement across borders as well as the seclusion from social interactions, are making people feel trapped while worrying for their families across borders. These emotions can lead to many psychological implications like anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Pessimistic thinking, boredom and lack of communication with your near and dear ones, may lead to the development of obsessive compulsive thinking, anxiety and depression.
Depression emanates feelings of hopelessness and negativity, stopping people from taking the necessary actions to take care of themselves and their families.
In contrast experiencing mild anxiety in general can be beneficial in such situations, as it can help people proactively act upon planning & working hard to achieve an outcome which otherwise would not have been possible.
On the other hand, excessive anxiety can cause extreme stress, so much so that total exhaustion can make it difficult to think rationally and plan for a positive outcome.
During this period, it is important for people to not only care for their physical health as well as their emotional wellbeing. There are various methods, people can adopt to ease their emotional burden, during this difficult times:
- Stay Connected – To avoid feeling anxious or depressed, always stay connected with your family and friends through phone, internet, video calls and message for enhancing positive emotions.
- Stay Productive – For easier coping with home staying and social distancing, involve yourself in productive hobbies, exercise regularly within the comfort of your home, practice healthy eating habits and establish a good sleep routine.
- Limit Your Intake – To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the situation, limit your intake of information from news sources. Always seek advice from reliable resources rather than rumors and personal stories.
- Take advantage of found time – If you are staying at home, on local leave or whether you are just a little less busy, take advantage of this and do something new, take a new course online, read a new book etc.
- Balance your mind – Practice breathing to help your mind reroute negative thoughts and focus on the here and now. This helps massively with anxiety and panic attacks.
- Practice random acts of kindness – This is known to always make us feel better. It does not have to be of monetary value. Be kind, leave a positive comment online, pay someone a compliment and so on.
- End your day on a positive note – When ending your day, before heading to bed, try reflecting on something that you have done or achieved that day. It will detach you from all the negativity you have absorbed throughout the day and remind you that not everything that is happening is bad.
If you are struggling to cope with certain emotions that are impacting your life, it is advisable that you consult with a mental health expert to help you balance your every day life.
By Dr. Muhammad S. Tahir, M.D. (USA)Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist