Breaking the barriers – Anxiety during COVID 19 quarantine

Breaking the barriers – Anxiety during COVID 19 quarantine

With the Novel Corona virus situation quickly escalating from an epidemic to a pandemic, the governments of each country are trying their best to control the situation and avoid spread of panic. But the uncertainty of this scenario has started expressing itself in a different way than expected, and people are fast developing anxiety and depression. This overwhelming fear has caused even mentally strong people to take a pause and reassess their handle on life as a whole. This fear does not differentiate between age, caste, religion or nationality. Every person has their own response to stress and fear. As an average Indian household has member from all age groups from senior citizens to infants, each typically reacts to the situation in a different way. Senior citizens are especially prone to become depressed as they are more susceptible to the virus. The other most affected demographics are teens who are confined at home with nowhere to vent their own emotions, people with substance abuse and mental health disorders, emergency response workers who have no choice but to engage in service and their family members.

Symptoms of Stress

There are various signs that are quite apparent in people who are developing stress and anxiety. If left unchecked these can evolve into depression, which is harder to overcome. Kindly look out for the following changes in behaviour in each and every member of your family.

1. Brooding and emotional distancing

2. Distinct shift in eating patterns

3. Disrupted sleep cycles

4. Loss of focus and concentration

5. Aggravation of existing health problems

6. Increase of substance abuse, if any

If anyone starts showing these signs, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Productivity Stress

With lot of people being enabled to work from home, there seems to be a sudden pressure to perform better than having done while working from the office itself. This is a result of the misconception that there is free time. First rid yourself o this lie. If you had been spending eight hours in the office, then it is the same eight hours at home. Rather you would face more distraction at home than at the workplace. The quarantine has imprinted its stress on you as well and its starting to show on your work. While few people tend to get more productive when stressed out, most others find it difficult to cope up especially when the stress concerns the safety of their loved ones and is a threat to life itself. Assure yourself that it Okay if you are able to do the bare minimum as even the end consumers of your products are services are under the same stress. Any non-essential sales sector will take a hit as people are more prudent in spending money at a time when the next salary is uncertain. Differentiate your work and leisure space even at home. Try to avoid working from the bedroom as your brain will get tuned to the space to work and not relax. Take short breaks between each hour of work. Try to emphasise the importance of your work to your family and make sure you are only disturbed for emergencies during work hours.

Screen your Screen time

The time that has been freed from your getting ready for work and commute to office is now lying idle. The tendency is to laze around scrolling through social media or binge watching ever series and movie possible. This is a strict NO-NO, as it is one of the major causes of anxiety. All of the newsfeeds and social media feeds are full of information about the Corona Virus outbreak. You are already stressed out and in fear that you may get infected. But being reminded of it with every flick of the thumb is a wanton call for stress. The extra screen time will also add to auditory and visual stress, leading to head and ear aches, with blurred eyesight. The constant barrage of information will also wear out the brain causing mental fatigue. Limit your social media exposure and instead choose to spend time with your loved ones. This will strengthen familial bonds and create an air of assurance.

Communicate

Do not be afraid to communicate with your family members about your fears and anxiety. They may be facing a similar situation too. Rather take the time to talk things out. The interaction will clear a lot of doubts and initiate proactive performance. Facing any situation is always easier with a support group around you. If you have kids ensure they are properly educated on the pandemic, while being reassuring. The very act of trying to calm down others has a calming effect on our own mind. This will ensure overall sphere of positivity that helps cope with stress related issues.

Activate Activities

Stress is mainly caused by the fact that our mind is focussed on one or more things that are sapping away your mental strength. Thus it is important to create and engage in other activities that will keep us diverted from these negative thoughts. The human mind tends to create mountains out of molehills. It is not only kids who need daily activities to keep themselves busy and out of the way of adults. Every adult in the family needs equal attention and care. If you have been putting off a chore because you didn’t have enough time, this is just the time to do it. Take up a hobby or skill that can be learnt online with limited resources. Learn a new language. All this activity not only cuts down on your social media time, it keeps your thoughts active and positive. Create a daily routine and rigidly try to follow the same regardless of how lethargic you may feel.

Exercise it out of you

A stringent exercise and work out regime will not only keep you fit but also gives you mental and physical discipline. Working out breaks out dopamine and serotonin that elevate our mood keeping us fresh and happy. Find out fun exercise routines online that the entire family can participate. This will also help kids spend their pent up energy and prevent them from becoming couch potatoes. Exercise routines can also include relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga that are proven to alleviate stress and anxiety. Meditation literally calms the mind and activates positive enzyme and hormone production in the body. When your body becomes healthy, you will gain a lot of confidence that will boost you psychologically. The quarantine period should have you coming out of it fitter, mentally and physically. It is a stressful time but we have to become resilient and boost ourselves and our loved ones. There are people who are relying on us to be dependable. Use these techniques to keep yourself cheerful. Spread the joy to the people around you. Share your quarantine experiences and tips with us in the comments section