The second wave of COVID-19 started from the middle of March 2021 and peaked in April with a shortage of oxygen cylinders and hospital beds. Now when the numbers have gone down again, people will start venturing outside and the reason for this eagerness is understandable because of the impact this pandemic has had on all of us, we just need ways to cope with it. Although mental health has been discussed a lot since the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdown, it is important to understand what changes we have been experiencing and how we can cope with them.
Impact on Mental Health
As we know, this pandemic created an economic crisis but along with that it also negatively impacted the mental health of people all across the world. People have been facing trouble with sleeping, eating, and alcohol consumption also went up. But the major mental health issues that are identified are stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia, denial, anger, and fear. And the people with existing mental disorders became more sensitive to their symptoms. The rate of suicide also increased, a suspected Covid-19 patient committed suicide in fear of the result of his test, and later it was found that he tested negative. Adding to that the level of concentration has drastically gone down.
On a normal day if you search for symptoms, you might be experiencing during the pandemic, it would lead to the diagnosis of depression but don’t get confused between depression and the COVID-19 blues. The symptoms of COVID-19 blues include:
- Feeling of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
- More than normal anger and irritability
- Withdrawal from things you normally enjoy
- Avoiding talking to friends and family
- Change in sleep pattern
- Change in appetite.
This is not the only thing, the feeling of eternal aimlessness that has started ever since the pandemic is known as languishing, and remember that you are not alone in this, even the practiced psychologists feel the same way. Languishing can be defined as a state of stagnation when you feel like the days are just passing by but you are not doing anything, you are just living through it. Not being able to focus on things is also a symptom of this.
Issues with Online
While most of the things have been shifted to the online forum and the work is being done in this new way, there are still side-effects of this change. The college students who started the online semesters with motivation have lost all of it as they can no longer focus or pay attention to the lectures, it all feels like background noise to them at this point. They cannot connect with their peers in the same way anymore. The distinction between personal and work time has disappeared, this isn’t just for college students but also adults working from home, everyone is working at any time and the expectation to get work done has increased using the reason “you are at home, you have time”. No one feels any kind of connection with their colleagues which brings troubles in the workflow. Moreover, people have lost any sense of time.
Here are some solutions to deal with this feeling:
- Create a routine, divide your time for housework and job-related work. A routine will help you maintain a sense of normalcy. It will also help you from feeling lost because of too many things to do at the same time.
- Try an at-home exercise routine to keep up with your physical health.
- Declutter your home, it will help you in feeling productive and in control.
- Set small daily goals, even small achievements count.
There is a concept of flow which means the state of absorption. The people who are immersed in some project avoid languishing, solutions for this are:
- Even a Netflix binge helps as you connect with the characters of the show and your focus shifts to that.
- Keep a goal of setting uninterrupted time for yourself, remove all kinds of distractions and focus on the one work you need to finish. There are applications that make sure you don’t use your phone for how much ever time you fill in.
This has been a very hard time for people all across the world, being scared for physical health was one thing but on the path to that our mental health is in danger and we need to take care of it. Remember to not blame yourself for feeling this way, take things slowly, do things that bring you peace. There is no need to hesitate from consulting a psychologist, if you think you are facing symptoms of depression, consult a psychologist to stay on top of your mental health.