Being isolated from your friends and family during this (COVID-19) can be hard. Humans are social animals and we require the presence of another human for our survival. Coping with Stress and anxiety is common to occur as we are isolated due to (COVID-19) pandemic, but if it takes all of your attention throughout the day, it is extremely harmful.
Anxiety and stress is known to occur in people who are more vulnerable:-
- Children and teenagers
- Old age people suffering from illnesses like diabetes, hypertension
- Healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, hospital administration
- People suffering from mental illnesses
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE STRESSED OUT:-
Stress can be overwhelming for some people, for some others it is a part of their routine, because they are constantly stressed out about small matters. Stress can include the following :-
- Constant fear or agitation regarding the disease
- Fear about your health or your family’s health
- Changes in sleep patterns – loss of sleep or excessive sleep
- Changes in eating habits
- Substance dependence – increased use of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health eg developing Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) like constantly washing hands, getting unnecessary health check ups done
- Constantly checking the news for Covid-19 updates
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MANAGE STRESS:-
- Acute and chronic stress is known to suppress immunity affecting cellular and humoral immunity
- Chronic stress can affect cardiovascular system predisposing myocardial infarction, aneurysm, stroke, migraine headache etc
- Chronic stress can also affect sperm counts and quality of eggs
- Effectively managing stress can help amplify the immune system
- Managing stress makes you feel in control of your emotions and gives you a sense of authority and confidence.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO COPE WITH STRESS:-
- Talk to someone – One of the main ways of dealing with stress is venting it out. Building up trust in another person and sharing how you feel with them, really reduces stress and makes you feel that somebody is there for you.
- Take some time off – It is important to cut off and take a break, if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your body and mind needs some time to relax. If you’re constantly looking at updates regarding Covid-19, take a break from it and engage with spending quality time with your family.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – In these uncertain times, it isn’t easy to maintain your health. But if you do, it will already give you a sense of accomplishment. Be mindful of what you eat, be consistent with your sleep pattern, avoiding using excessive stimulants. Maintain a healthy exercise regime as this is a great stress buster.
- Exercise purposeful, mindful attention – Move away from negative thoughts and focus your energy on positive thoughts. Practice guided meditation, breathing exercises, yoga.
- Focus on positive aspects of life – Try to see the good in life even if things aren’t going your way. Expressing gratitude for your blessings fills your body with positive energy. Keep motivating and rewarding yourself. Instead of using negative words like “we are never going to get through this”, use positive words like “we will get through this by doing this”.
- Stay connected with your friends and family – Now is the time that you can call up an old friend and catch up. Go down the Memory Lane, think about the past memories that make you feel happy. Make plans for what you can do after this is over. Make video calls and speak to your group.
- Use some stress relieving activities that you can do at home – Pick up a hobby or a skill to practice during these time that make you feel good and get your mind distracted.
- Use only reliable sources of information for updates related to (COVID-19) like WHO, CDC etc.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN AT HOME:-
- As children and teenagers in part model behavior from adults around them, it is recommended to support them by being a role model. Manage stress and anxiety calmly and confidently and maintain self-care.
- Reassure them that they are safe.
- Provide them opportunities to talk about their feelings, concerns, and questions.
- Validate their feelings and reassure them that it is okay to feel upset or afraid.
- Provide tools such as the ones above for them to manage feelings and have a sense of control.
- Set a regular routine or schedule, including learning and fun activities.
- Give them a little extra love and attention. Make them feel special if they start to feel anxious or low
- Try to keep the children close to their parents or caregivers. If separation occurs due to hospitalization, ensure regular contact via phone.
- Give them the information they need. If they ask questions about the current situation, explain it to them in a language they would understand. Explain to them why it is important to wash hands regularly and what will happen if they don’t.
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