The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a stressful environment for everyone  across the world. Research by the National Institute on Health  concluded that  the psychological Impact of Covid-19 has confronted us with the realities of unemployment, the loss of a family member or friend or being isolated from human touch and face to face interactions has presented a scenario where mental break down are highly prevalent. The pandemic has challenged individual’s mental health and their ability to actively take care of their mental and emotional health, with the reported increase of people experiencing anxiety attacks, depressive episodes and suicidal tendencies.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the Pandemic has catapulted fatigue, insomnia, alcohol and drug abuse, chronic health problems and physical reactions, subsequently all playing a role in deteriorating mental and emotional health. The Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and will still be around for quite some time, therefore it is important to take conscious steps in an effort to preserve and take care of our mental and emotional health. Moreover, the pandemic has also come in the backdrop of substance abuse of many kinds and has increased an already prevalent problem of substance abuse in our country. We have identified three major emotional impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic:

1. Fear

One of the biggest emotive reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic has been the underlying sense of fear that seems to control and drive numerous mental dispositions. From the fear of the unknown, to the fear of getting physically ill, to the fear of economic repercussions our society as a whole is underpinned by a sense of fear.

2. Anxiety

Fear is usually the catalyst that leads to anxiety. Cognitively we move into a fight or flight mode. Since Covid-19 cannot individually be controlled and there is a lot of uncertainty that exists around the virus, it catapults people into stress and underlying anxiety.

3. Loneliness

Social distancing and physical social restrictions has had a ripple effect on people’s emotional state. A sense of disconnectedness creates a sense of isolation and loneliness.

The pandemic has presented a lot of challenges and impacted our lives and mental health negatively, but just like the saying goes “There are two sides to a coin”. It will be beneficial to find some positives in the situation, it may present the opportunity to spend more time rebuilding relationships with family, slowing down at work and even the opportunity to make conscious decision to look after your health.

Here are some practical steps one can take to take care of their mental and emotional health:

Take a break from watching, reading or listening to stories related to the pandemic.

There is coverage of the pandemic everywhere and it has become a regular feature of everyday conversations. Refraining from watching or listening to such reports might do you a world of good, gloomy conversations lead to gloomy thoughts and even emotions.

Making a daily schedule

Making a daily schedule can help one in finding motivation to wake up in the morning and with a goal-orientated positive outlook. With many people being confined to their homes they might feel down and unmotivated . A daily schedule might help you stay on top of things to do and help in formulating goals and reaching them.

Use time alone positively

If you are being confined at home take time out for yourself and use it positively. It could be reading a book or sitting outside or in the garden meditating.

exercise during Covid-19

Get Support

In the age of the pandemic  technology has offered some relief, although we cannot gather with family and friends abroad ,it is important to use technology to stay connected .A virtual catch up with loved one’s is sure to raise your spirits. Make sure you have a grounded support system. If and where Covid-19 Restrictions allow meet up with family member, friend or loved one. Be sure to check in regularly with each other and share emotional states openly for support.

Keeping active

Keeping active will definitely help. Any form of physical activity is good for your mental health, because keeping active releases endorphins which are your feel good hormones. This could also be a great opportunity to take a break from life stresses as well as exercise with a family member or friend will help you connect with a support.

For most people our days are full of the hustle and bustle of balancing relationships, family, home life, and work life, and the last thing we thought was that our lives would be turned upside down by a pandemic that is Covid-19. If you or a loved one feel overwhelmed during this time please reach out for professional help. We offer stress and anxiety counselling to help you through what has become our new normal.