Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health has been a hotly debated topic. But in addition to the physical consequences for those who contract the virus, everyone is dealing with the mental impact of the situation. We all seem to react to it differently: some are afraid of getting sick, others have little concern. Some go into hoarder mode, others into caregiver mode. Many are concerned about the health of loved ones, their own financial situation, or the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy.
Quarantine measures and mental health
And then we all have to stick it out at home, too. It is still unclear how much effect the outbreak of the Coronavirus will have on our collective mental health, but it is widely known that social contacts are essential in times of crisis. And those social contacts are now largely being taken away from us. Some are isolated all by themselves and need social contact more than usual, while others are now stuck with family members 24/7 and are missing out on time for themselves.
It turns out that no less than 65% of people suffer from anxiety or stress symptoms and half of them feel gloomy. One in ten even says they experience severe anxiety and are afraid to go out. There are various causes for this:
- This is a completely new situation, to which everyone reacts differently. You have not been able to prepare for it and may not know how to deal with someone else’s reaction. Some people get frustrated and get irritated and angry quickly, while others shut down completely and withdraw.
- In a limited number of square meters, small things come under a magnifying glass. As a result, partners get irritated with each other more quickly but also when you are sitting at home alone you can suffer from this. Without distractions, it is very easy to overthink certain small things and make them bigger than they are.
- A lack of control and routine causes nervousness in even the most unstructured people. Maybe your job and thus your daily schedule has completely disappeared, or you suddenly have to babysit the kids all day. And what do you do with your time now that you can no longer go to the gym or your favorite Italian restaurant is closed?
- The uncertainty about how long this situation will last means that you can’t prepare for it and can’t make plans. If you know for sure that the situation will return to normal in a few weeks, you also know what the state of affairs is regarding your work, finances, the children’s school, that booked vacation, etc. You can then take this into account and possibly adjust your plans. Now that this is not possible, many people feel aimless and powerless.
How do you keep yourself mentally healthy during a pandemic?
The longer the quarantine measures last, the greater the effect on mental health. It is, therefore, important to increase your mental ‘resilience’. Normally, you probably already have some techniques for this. For example, you may feel better by seeking distraction, taking time for yourself, or helping others. Many people now slip into one of these stress reactions. So be aware of how you react to this situation and what you can do to improve that stress reaction.
Do not be ashamed to seek help. A therapist can help you very effectively with this. The therapists affiliated with The Online Therapists also have all the necessary experience with remote therapy. Through online therapy, a therapist helps you to create awareness of your own behavior. Based on this, you examine together what works well for you in this exceptional situation. Then you build up a new rhythm. This starts completely with the basics: what time do you go up? What do you eat? How do you keep moving? If you no longer have a job, therapy helps you set new goals so that you can give meaning to your days again. You also learn to deal with negativity from the news and social media, and any fears or stress that may arise from this.
So you keep yourself mentally healthy even in these times!
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