COVID-19 and The Effects on Mental Health

3 Jun 2020

In the last few months, the global effects of COVID-19 pandemic are becoming more and more widespread. We’ve discussed previously how particular industries are feeling the current economic effects. They can also take action to be on the road to recovery. One of the things that need to be discussed however is how the pandemic is greatly affecting our mental health. It’s not just limited to those who may be susceptible to the disease. How the rest of the world is managing to cope through it is also important.

It is essential to have a good understanding of the mental health effects has on others. This can help facilitate better conversations about mental health in this current climate. It shows the impact of people’s actions having a ripple effect in making things better even in the slightest.

Disrupting the Old Normal  

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted daily life, one needs to only look at it’s overarching effect these last few months. While several businesses sustained themselves via a remote working strategy, the same cannot be said for others. One unfortunate effect was the closing of companies due to lack of customers, or a shift in the priorities during this pandemic. The loss of livelihood, being unable to have daily interactions, and anxiety from reading the news may just be some of the factors people are struggling with as the outbreak continues.

COVID-19 and The Effects on Mental Health
Many people feel their mental health declining as the pandemic gets longer.

It’s not just professionals that are feeling the effects on their mental health. A survey by The Lancet saw 83% of students saying the pandemic having a negative effect on their mental health. Students cited the closures of their schools and lack of access to resources they would usually have.

What We Can Do

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) outlined some tips for mental health management. These approaches are not only useful to you but also help those around you as well.

Develop daily routines

The pandemic’s disruption of normal, daily life had a profound effect on many people. For others, they saw this a good chance to create new routines and habits that kept them busy and productive within their limited resources and space. In the last few months, we’ve seen stories of new hobbies, interests and exercise routines being adopted by people while they stay indoors. 

Check in with loved ones

Checking in with loved ones can help ease anxiety
Checking in with loved ones can help ease some anxieties.

Being in isolation can feel like a heavy burden. Both the WHO and CDC recommend that checking in with loved ones can help with your mental health. Similar to how virtual meetings take place, scheduling daily or weekly catch ups with peers can greatly benefit all involved. 

Minimize your time online

Social media is called a blessing and a curse due to the amount of real time information it gives us. If you scroll daily, it’s natural to feel things are bleak or that the end is still nowhere in sight. Taking frequent social media breaks can help relieve some of your anxiety from reading the daily news. Some would even recommend deleting the app you use so as not to feel tempted or to receive push notifications. 

Help others with proper information

If you need to remain on social media however, you can do your part in making it a better environment for others. As noted earlier, social media is rife with real time stories that are muddled with false information. Some of these false stories can have a damaging effect on people’s mental health if they are constantly bombarded with bad news. You can help others by fact checking and disseminating the right information to help allay the anxieties of others on social media.

Hope Lies Eternal

Indeed, discussing the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is a tricky challenge. It is clear, however, that fear and anxiety can seep into our mental health especially in social isolation from a global pandemic. As difficult as it may be for many, remember that these are not normal circumstances and that at some point, this will all come to an end. 

Until that time, however, keeping yourself safe both physically and mentally should remain a priority. The first step is in acknowledging that everyone’s situation is different and what may work for some may not yield the same results for others. It’s important that people listen and understand what they can do to support those going through difficult times without infringing on their well-being. By doing so, you can help create stronger bonds with others as you navigate towards the new normal together.

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