Coping with stress  during Covid-19

Shalinee Tripathi July 2020, News Letters

The ongoing pandemic has resulted in increased concern about the mental health of the people. Fear and Anxiety related to contacting the new disease has instilled overwhelming and strong emotions. Different people react to stressful situations differently. People who suffer from anxiety disorder are more likely to experience an increase in anxiety during such times. Added stress such as financial insecurity has added to the problems of people. Stress is the body’s reaction to any change. The body can respond to these changes either physically, emotionally and even mentally. Stress that continues for a long period of time turns into distress, which can affect the body equilibrium in future. But when the stress goes beyond a certain level and individuals are unable to deal with it. It leads to Burnout which is defined as mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. It seems to be safe to assume that Frontline Workers are likely to suffer from Burnout and are at higher risk for secondary traumatic experiences. The more challenging part for them is that they have to constantly maintain distance from their loved ones. Compared to those who are in lockdown with their family members. They need to take brief mental breaks and also prioritize their basic need. Mental Health worker needs to take care of their mental health more as they are directly dealing with clients and dealing with death at a closer aspect. Cases of Mental Health Illness are increasing in India. Recently, Google also conducted research during lockdown which shows that more and more people are searching about stress and therapy in India. According to the Indian Psychiatric Society, there is a 20% rise in cases related to mental illnesses. Another survey conducted in March shows that around 82% of the population in India is suffering from stress especially the age group of 35-49.

Thoughts play a very essential role during such times, if people will think positive then they will feel positive and will be much more productive. It is important to find ways to deal with negative thoughts during the lockdown. The best way is to maintain a journal and to engage in hobbies. This will help you to be productive and also busy. COVID-19 has led to physical distancing but people should seek support and connection with others. The best way for people to cope with the situation is to develop an attitude of gratitude. They should try to find joy in small things. It is essential to also follow a routine and try to include some routine from your past routine. In this time of uncertainties, it is essential to be hopeful about the future. People should focus on progressive and futuristic thoughts. Practising positive imagery can be very beneficial which requires you to focus on your achievements and also believe that good things will come in the future.

Mental health is not linear, it can become a threat to life if not dealt properly. It is essential to check up on your loved ones and friends. Personal contact between loved ones will provide a form of safety and trust.