How to Cope with COVID-19 UncertaintyApril 08, 2020
Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic has affected most parts of the world; thousands of lives have changed drastically. In the past few weeks that we are quarantined in our own homes, fear and stress continue to creep in as we wait for everything to return to normal.
But in these strange times, it is the top priority of each individual to look out for their physical and mental health as well. Despite being safe from the threat of the virus, the stress of this whole COVID-19 situation can still very much affect our emotional wellbeing. Thankfully, there are several ways you can help yourself and your loved ones cope with the COVID-19 uncertainty.
Overview of the COVID-19
The newly discovered type of coronavirus is characterised by a respiratory illness that can range from mild to severe, depending on the condition of the infected individual. While most people can recover from this disease without treatment, those who have preexisting health problems, as well as older people, can experience severe symptoms that can lead to death.
COVID-19 has been found to spread through discharges from the mouth or nose when someone sneezes or coughs. After being infected, the individual may experience symptoms of dry cough, shortness of breath, and high fever. These symptoms may appear after 2 to 14 days of contracting the virus.
COVID-19 and Mental Health
Being distanced from our social groups, having to change our daily routine, and being stripped of the different comforts we enjoy can take a toll on our mental health. People respond to crises differently, but one thing’s for sure- we are all feeling the dread and uneasiness of the situation. While others may find solace in keeping themselves busy with their work or household chores, some people may require constant company and updates from the news.
In extreme cases, individuals may experience panic attacks which may trigger negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviour. While these reactions are valid, we should still look for ways to control the situation so we can maintain positive wellbeing. The first step to doing this is to recognise the effects of stress during the time of the outbreak. Here are some behaviours to watch out for:
- Overwhelming anxiety about you and your loved ones
- Change in sleeping patterns and difficulty sleeping
- Inability to focus
- Excessive eating or lack of appetite
- Increased use of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol
- Lack of interest in usual hobbies or activities
- Body pain and headaches
- Increased irritation
- Other recurring health problems
Ways to Cope During the COVID Pandemic
All of the emotional difficulties you are facing are valid, and you are not going through them alone. The best thing to do during this outbreak is to follow the protocol of authorities, mind your personal hygiene, and stay at home as much as possible. Remember that despite the situation, there are still several things which you can control and practices which can further strengthen your family. Here are some tips on managing stress and coping with COVID-19 uncertainty:
Keep in mind the steps to reduce your personal risk
The number one solution to avoiding the sickness is to stay inside your home even if you are perfectly well. As much as possible, don’t go out for things that are not essential, like shopping or travelling. If you do need to go out, be sure to steer clear of crowds and maintain a 6 feet distance from other people. Make it a habit to wash your hands and refrain from touching your face. Boost your immune system by getting proper sleep and eating nutritious food.
Stay informed about the latest updates
Being informed and alert about the things going on in your community is essential so that you can follow the precautions to stop the spread of the virus. However, you should make sure that your sources are credible and trustworthy so that misinformation can be avoided. On the other hand, be wary of the posts you share because rumours and fake news can only lead to unnecessary mass panic. If you suddenly feel overwhelmed and anxious about the news, then simply step away. Constant checking of updates can make you more anxious and might leave you feeling worse.
Find ways to relax
Take care of yourself by practising self-care habits and meditation. Since the outside world is inaccessible for now, try your best to find activities you enjoy at home. You can try out a new hobby, or revisit old activities like reading books or watching shows. Forming an everyday schedule and sticking to it can help you feel more normal and productive instead of lying around all day.
Exercise is also a helpful way to beat stress and anxiety. If you can take a walk in your neighbourhood, then soak up the sun and fresh air. But if you can’t, try looking through online videos of exercises that best suit you. If you’re worried about the lack of equipment, don’t fret- there are workouts where you can use your body weight.
If you are a parent, support your child
Children and teenagers can also feel the stress, even if they cannot verbally express it. As a parent, be sure to talk to your child about the pandemic. Answer their questions and always reassure them that they will be okay. Comfort them by validating their emotions if they are worried or upset. It is necessary that you become a pillar of support by helping them engage in a routine, productive activities, fun hobbies, and other healthy practices.
Find comfort in connecting with people online
Being isolated can increase loneliness and depression, that is why it is a big help for our health to keep ourselves connected to the rest of the world. Social media is a great platform to stay in touch with family and friends. Group chats and facetime can be a way to communicate your emotions, as well as give each other proper reassurance. Being connected to the online world can also give you the sense of being part of a larger community and remind you that people are fighting the pandemic together.
At Ubuntu Medical, we also help with How To Avoid COVID-19 Infection.