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In the times of Uncertainty…

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

On March 24th’2020, PM Narendra Modi declared a nationwide lockdown starting midnight explaining that this was the only way to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection. ‘‘Social Distancing is the only way to break the cycle of infection’’, he said. While the pandemic has threatened the physical health of the people, it has perhaps, also disturbed the emotional and mental health across the globe. The isolation and fear felt by so many people are leading to various psychological problems like depression, anxiety, phobia, panic attacks among many others.

Other prominent disturbances are the ideas of hopelessness, helplessness, worrisome thoughts, feelings of boredom, loneliness, emptiness, and various other overwhelming thoughts and emotions.

Well, our reactions to this unnatural situation are very natural. None of us could ever think of a time when physical movement outside our homes would be prohibited, meeting our loved ones would no more be effortless, and most of the services we rely on would not be functioning. However, weren’t there times before the lockdown when we wished for a relaxing day at home without having to go out or when we wanted to spend time with ourselves rather than attending a social gathering? Then what is it about the lockdown that is making this experience so difficult for us.

It is important to gain insight into the reasons behind the impact of lockdown on mental health -

  • Non-normalized version of reality - If we were told that we will have to be locked up in our homes 6 months ago, we would probably laugh at the idea and dismiss it. It doesn’t even sound real to us because the idea of a lockdown opposes our idea of normality which includes having a routine, meeting our loved ones frequently, going to work. Living a life which opposes the idea of normality can be overwhelming for many.

  • Uncontrollability of the situation - The human race likes to be in control of their lives. Lockdown has unfortunately stolen the chance from us to control our lives. Abiding by the rules set by the government while going against ones wishes can lead to helplessness in people.

  • Unpredictable times- The times are indeed uncertain. We do not even know what is in store for us tomorrow. The lockdown has already been extended over six times in the last 3 months. We do not have any knowledge about when the lockdown will finally end. And knowing the reality, even if the lockdown ends, one will always be anxious about catching the infection on going out. The uncertainty is causing hopelessness and anxiety among many.

Here is how you can cope with the overwhelming feelings in these difficult times-

First of all, always remind yourself that you are not alone in this and you will only come out stronger after it all ends.

  • Take care of your body - Watch your physical health regularly. Be mindful of all the sensations in your body and exercise regularly. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. It will help you relax and have a calming effect on anxiety.

  • Make new adaptations in your lifestyle - Working from home, online learning portals, webinars are setting a new trend in our routines. Although it is new to all of us, we must get adapted to the online mode for better work productivity and satisfaction. Online mode inhibits physical movement, it is suggested that you regularly change places to work at home to avoid boredom and stiffness in body.

  • Broaden your skills - We have all ignored our hobbies because of our busy routines. It is time to focus on our hobbies since we have some extra times in our hands. Also, learning a new skill which we have always wanted can be a good way to build self confidence and find joy.

  • Make a routine - Establishing a schedule at home can provide you with a sense of control. Make a schedule which includes not only activities of productivity and mastery, but also leisure activities that provide a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.

  • Stay connected - Lockdown had made it difficult to meet our loved ones which can lead to loneliness. It is suggested to stay connected with your loved ones through the online mode in order to get a sense of belongingness and support.

  • Positive self talk - We are spending most of the times with ourselves and it is extremely necessary to monitor what we tell ourselves. Instead of saying ‘I am not going to survive this’, tell yourself ‘It is normal to get worried, but I will do my best to keep safe. I have been through times before and I can do it again’. This will help you to have a hopeful and optimistic view of the situation.

  • Journal your feelings - In case of overwhelming feelings, make a note of your emotions and thoughts in a diary. It can be a great outlet for negative emotions. Writing a diary can help you gain control over your emotions.

  • Seek Professional Help- It is extremely necessary to seek professional help if none of your efforts and resources seems to help. Do not hesitate. Talking about your issues with a professional will only empower you in overcoming your problems.

Despite the challenging nature of the lockdown, one needs to look at the bright side of the situation. It is a time to start valuing things that we usually took for granted. It has taught us that nothing comes easy in life. This time has provided us with opportunities to learn new things, build new connections, broaden our skills, built our strengths, improved our ability to cope with the tough times and most importantly, made us able to feel gratitude for the positive moments in life

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