We see articles such as this one all over the Internet. They warn us about the consequences this pandemic can have on our overall health. They encourage us to engage in self-care, to eat healthy food, try meditation, preserve social contacts via technology. They all have one thing in common; they are acknowledging outbreak induced state of collective anxiety.
Medical experts are warning us about the physical symptoms of the COVID-19, but our mental health is also under attack, resulting in depression, anxiety, and many other mental issues. No one still knows the full extent the coronavirus will have on our mental health, but we can all agree that it is not something we can just ignore.
Financial Insecurity And Stress
People all over the planet are losing their jobs because companies cannot afford to keep paying them amidst the coronavirus crisis. They are losing their financial security, which results in experiencing high levels of stress in their daily life, which is now filled with uncertainty about our future.
Musicians and seasonal workers are among those groups that are affected the most, and the majority of their yearly income is in danger because of the coronavirus pandemic, making them rely on savings (if they have any) and hopes for a better future. While some people are losing their jobs and being laid off, there are some whose work is considered to be of great importance in these times, such as medical technicians, doctors, pharmacists, basically every healthcare worker.
They are torn between earning their income and spending the majority of their time in potentially dangerous environments, putting their loved ones at risk. Having our essential priorities in direct conflict makes us feel the real dangers such a pandemic has on our psychological well-being.
The Side-Effects Of Social Distancing
The experience of such fear and uncertainty on a global level can make us prone to all sorts of mental issues like mood problems, trouble sleeping, panic-like symptoms, and many more. When authorities ask us to stay at home, many of us will find that task to be harder than it sounds. The fact that social isolation is indefinite and depends on the progression of the virus makes us feel uncertain and anxious.
We do not know how long it will last, and in the process of it, we are losing our social networks, our relationship, struggling to make sense of our identity without our usual daily interactions. We are forced to use technology not only as a means to escape but also as one of the few ways to stay connected with our friends and loved ones. All of these events are also making us feel less productive as a member of society, and the fact that it is all happening so fast is a big threat to our mental health.
What Can We Do?
We need to work towards escaping the "fight or flight" model of thinking, stop unnecessary hoarding of supplies, which is detrimental to our community and economics, spreading fear and anxiety for no adequate reason. We must be careful, but we also need to remain human. We need to find new ways of expressing our productivity and connect in any way possible.
Avoid speculative information and limit yourself and your loved ones to a few key reputable sources on the coronavirus. Remember that it is perfectly normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed in a situation like this, and it is hard to be rational and analytical all the time. Still, we must not succumb to irrational panic. Reputable news sources, support from the people your love, and self-reflection are vital factors maintaining both our physical and psychological health.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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