In 2020, an unexpected virus hit the world and resulted in what is now known as the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of lives have been affected by the impact of the virus. Not only are people getting sick because of the virus. But people are also forced to change the way they work or study by bringing these to their homes. With the sudden shift of routine for many, it is without a doubt that it can be difficult to cope with the new way of doing things. At most, this sudden change and constant isolation can cause others to struggle with their mental health.
How are people badly affected?
Data show that as early as July 2020, people already reported negative symptoms to their mental health, such as loss of appetite, increased substance use, and insomnia. Some even report worsening chronic conditions due to the stress and anxiety brought by the virus. As the pandemic goes on, more individuals are bound to experience the toll of isolation and other stressors caused by the pandemic.
A survey published last March showed an increased amount of people reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression. This was especially seen in young adults. With the pandemic creating uncertainty for many, there is no doubt that people’s mental health will be more affected. One can say that this pandemic may have made an impact on us to recognize that mental health is important. Medical doctors are needed at a time like this, and so are our mental health professionals. As more people realize that mental health is equally important, the more we need people who can provide care and psychotherapy instructions through videos that others badly need.
How does one cope?
So how does one cope with anxiety or depression in the pandemic? Coping with depression and anxiety in a time when health protocols encourage people to isolate can be challenging. Workplaces have been keen on providing fewer desk hours for employees to cut burnout. Schools have also been trying to lessen the workload of their students to prevent burnout. But is this enough to help people take care of their well-being? In a world that’s resorted to a more digital approach to doing things, it’s become a challenge to reinforce a connection with other people. In other words, people are fatigued by everything becoming digital.
The easiest way to manage depression and anxiety at this time is to visit a therapist. However, not everybody has the means to do so. The best way to tackle this is by surrounding yourself with a support group like your family or friends. Because COVID-19 normalizes isolation, sometimes people forget to check on friends and family. But checking on people can go a long way; lending an ear can go a long way.
Learn to take a break
Taking a break years ago used to be seen as a form of laziness. But in the state of the world now and with a different kind of fatigue everyone is experiencing, taking a break is important. Taking a day off to sort oneself out is encouraged. Because at the end of the day, overwhelming oneself with neverending tasks and responsibilities is unhealthy and can ultimately result in depression.
Changing your routine can help. It can be in the form of journaling or trying out new hobbies. Adding tasks that have nothing to do with work or academics can be a great way to relieve stress. As much COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, going out can refresh a person’s mind. Maybe omit the partying and crowded social gatherings, but taking a walk in the park or an early morning jog can boost your outlook for the rest of your day.
Try to stay social
Another way to reinforce social relationships is to spend time with your family. Doing something together as a form of bonding time, such as a game night or movie night, can make one feel more connected and less isolated. Having a friend or two can be beneficial too. Spending time with people you like and people you care about can make you feel better and get you out of a gloomy mood.
Don’t be afraid to reach out
But if all else fails and if you find yourself already struggling with depression or anxiety, do not be afraid to seek help. Help can be in the form of talking to a friend about what burdens you, or it can be in the form of seeking professional help. There are resources online that can help you when you feel overwhelmed, such as apps that help you meditate. If you find yourself having difficulties coping, calling a crisis hotline is an option.
There is no guarantee when this pandemic will be over. But if there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is a valuable lesson that depression and anxiety can quietly affect anyone. Destigmatizing mental health and encouraging people to practice healthy habits to promote self-care could minimize the extreme effects of these mental illnesses. One’s mental health can also affect physical health. So as much as one would want to avoid contracting COVID-19, one must also be keen on keeping a healthy mind and a healthy relationship with their routines.