The spread of COVID-19 has caused the daily lives of many to come to a grinding halt all over the world, with people being forced to stay at home for their own safety and well-being. However, in staving off a physical ailment, the lockdown has the potential to inflict the wrath of an equally insidious ailment that is dangerous in its own right – mental and psychological instability and depression. The fear of the unknown disease that is lurking in places and people unknown is enough to disturb our mental balance, and walking out for essential supplies has become an incredibly stress-inducing exercise in itself. However, it doesn’t end here – the alien realities of working from home, the possibility of temporary unemployment and a forced distancing from friends, family and loved ones are all contributing to making weathering the lockdown an emotionally tiring experience. However, there are many things that all of us can do together that can make fighting these trying times easier for ourselves and our loved ones.
Balance your news digestion: The past few months have seen our phones, televisions and newsfeeds inundated with alarming and depressing news on COVID, its complications, deaths, and so on. To an extent, this information has been useful in educating us about the precautions to be taken and inform us about the gravity of the situation. However, the constant barrage of negative news from all sides has meant that a sense of despair and hopelessness has descended into our minds and homes. It is thus important to distance ourselves from our screens and news channels as much as possible, and refer to them only for further information on precautions if possible. Being informed of the general situation is advisable, but this shouldn’t come at the cost of mental health.
Do something you love (or sometimes just don’t!): This extended period away from the treadmill of daily life is a great time to learn a new skill, improve upon an existing one, read up on useful information, and much more! It certainly is a great idea to continue learning about stuff that we may learn at college, enrol in a few certificate courses and intern, since these can be done in the comfort of our houses, with a relaxed schedule at our disposal, and help keep us occupied. But don’t let the constant barrage of LinkedIn and Facebook updates faze you – this lockdown is also a great time to simply recharge and just do what you love. Cook, sing, dance, draw, or just do nothing for a while if you wish – your mental health is more important than your curriculum vitae!
Stay in touch: Physical touch and presence is an important part of the human need for company, but today, it is not the only way to “keep in touch”. Stay in touch with your friends and family through audio or video calls and instant messaging, and share with those that you trust the things that you may be going through – be it your triumphs or your tribulations. You’re probably also helping the one on the other side with their loneliness by communicating – but please be cognizant that they may also be facing some obstacles of their own.
Seek support: If you’re going through a rough time coping with your thoughts, it is always a great idea to seek professional help! The advancement of technology means that we all have instant audio/video access to mental health specialists, who are trained in helping all of us through our tough psychological morasses. Don’t be hesitant to approach them if need be – remember that there is always someone who would love to be by your side!
The situation we are all in today might sometimes feel a little suffocating and worrying, and the uncertainty that we see in the cold accuracy of the graphs and numbers plastered all over the news may feel disheartening – but let’s all remember that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s our collective hope that will coast use through these tough times!