“Since the lockdown began, there has been an upswing in cases of anxiety, loneliness, depression, insecurity about health, financial impacts of lockdown and similar matters,” Monica Sharma, a therapist based in New Delhi, told Re:Set. While some cope with stockpiling, others go on a Netflix binge, people’s responses to COVID-19 and all the uncertainty it brings has been varied. The fear and panic of the coronavirus added with fake news is taking a toll on people’s mental health. Many of Sharma’s patients are now availing her services via video calls, online chats, and voice calls. While India is currently in the midst of a 21-day lockdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, people across the world are also self-isolating.
“I only worry about what I can control. I don’t watch the news, but only consume enough to stay informed because too much of it will increase my anxiety,” Albert Munoz, a California-based internet sales manager, told Re:Set. The 27-year-old has been working from home like many. He has been sporadically dealing with depression and anxiety which is currently controlled. Not having structure to his days in recent times would amplify Munoz’s anxiety, so he’s set a schedule and factored in breaks for when he feels overwhelmed.
For those who find themselves in similar situations like Munoz, we asked Sharma to put together a list of ways we can cope and focus on our mental well-being. Here’s what she recommends:
- Participate in an already known hobby that you can practice indoors or develop or nurture a new one,
- Regular physical exercise and yoga,
- Breathing exercises; start off small with five deep breaths three to four times a day,
- Practicing positive affirmations about your health, well-being, finances and other important aspects of your life,
- Maintaining a ‘thought diary’ to write about any negative thoughts, fears, doubts, overthinking and anxiety and depression triggers experienced during the day. This can help in releasing suppressed negative emotions.