Psychological Aids to Deal with COVID-19 and Lockdown
Written By – Prof. Sneha Sharma
A range of mental disorders can manifest when there is an influx of a large-scale chronic disease. Feeling worried and anxious is normal in a crisis but, if you are having a couple of these symptoms, you need help and must seek immediate contact with a counsellor:
- Episodes of sadness, irritability, anger & uneasiness
- Reduced Concentration –unable to do routine work.
- Tension- Constant headaches
- Reduced energy
- Sleeping Problems and low appetite.
- Loss of Interest in communication
- Eagerness to access media updates for COVID 19
- Adjustment issues
- Sudden mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts, infliction of self-injury and increased substance use.
Have you noticed a spike in your distress levels as a result of COVID- 19 and lockdown? If so, you are certainly not alone. The entire world is fighting against severe chronic disease – COVID 19. Along with the fear of exponentially spreading the disease, several other factors are affecting the life of a human being. There are a lot of external stressors at work here. Lockdown, isolation, disturbed lifestyle, problems related to social distancing, economic problems and most importantly fear of being infected is now deep-rooted in the minds of the people.
In this time of uncertainty, it’s obvious to feel stressed. Stress is not only unpleasant, but it can also affect the immunity of a person. So, to boost your immunity and coping capacity and overall wellbeing, it is necessary to take some psychological preventions along with behavioural modification and some lifestyle changes:
Serotonin – Be happy stay strong: Serotonin is a hormone found in the human body and it is called happiness hormone because it contributes to well being and happiness. It also helps in lifting your mood and establishing a healthy sleeping pattern. The optimum level of Serotonin is directly associated with good mental health, subjective well being and low anxiety. To maintain the level of Serotonin one should:-
- Eat good food
- Exercise regularly
- Get a lot of sunshine
- Have a positive outlook.
- Have a high fibre diet.
Dopamine – Boost your energy to stay safe. Dopamine plays an important part in controlling the movement and activity level of a person and is responsible for emotional responses. The right balance of Dopamine is vital for both, the physical and mental wellbeing. To boost the level of dopamine one should –
- Get enough sleep
- Listen to music
Follow a routine directed by the biological clock.
How to use Quarantine time effectively
It is uncertain as to how much time we might have to spend in Isolation and social
distancing because of this Covid-19.
Create a routine — Make a to-do list of all the things you want to achieve each day
to create a sense of normalcy and productivity.
Develop your Skills– In the time
of lockdown, you can develop your skills and knowledge. As Rajasthan university has added on some UG online courses free for all the students. There are 1500 videos for students of different streams. Other similar platforms are available too.
Break up your day — Find tasks to break up your day and, where possible, change your
environment for different activities.
Take care of your body — Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could
include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practising meditation.
Help others —IF you are in a position to do so, find ways to support and help
others who are in need.
Stay connected — Make the use of technology and stay in touch with colleagues,
friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.
Limit media intake — Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but
limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Social Connection Theory –
Stay connected stay strong- fight negativity with negativity-Social connect is the experience of feeling close and connected to others. It involves feeling loved, cared for and valued; the social connection is understood as a core human need and a desire to connect as a fundamental drive. Social connection and feeling of belongingness give human beings strength to fight against any situation.
- In the time of lock-down, you can build a strong bond with your friends and family
- Spend time with family
- Play with children
- Talk to old ones
- Text your old friends
- Spend time to explore new hobbies with family
Cognitive Behavior Therapy – It’s the thoughts that matter- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. Its most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. As CBT only can be given by a trained and licensed psychologist one can use some simple techniques to maintain a good level of well being.
- Activity Scheduling
- Writing therapy
- Thought record
“Stay in contact with people — virtually — engage in activities that give you pleasure and a sense of meaning, and do what you can to help others, which is a remarkable antidote to depression.”
Fight boredom — Make the most of your leisure time by catching up to TV series, reading and books, and playing indoor games with family. Try your hand at gardening or cooking. You can also watch Ramayana & Mahabharata (on DD national) with your kids.
Avoid burnout — Set strict limits to your work to avoid becoming overwhelmed and make time to unwind.
Focus on the positives — Read good news stories and honour caregivers who are working effortlessly to save mankind.
Take one day at a time — Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.
HELPLINE NUMBER :
The has launched a toll-free helpline number 8046110007 for people who may face any mental health issues due to the ongoing country-wise lockdown. It is launched by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Science (NIMHANS) Bangalore.