Covid-19 challenges and how to deal
The enormous scale of the crisis and the impact it is having is naturally causing a lot of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety across the globe. Due to this global population is facing Covid-19 challenges and how to deal is a major problem. Add social isolation, disrupted work and family routines, cabin fever, and economic instability, and it is understandable that our mental health is suffering.
A recent survey found that 45% of adults feel that worry and stress related to coronavirus have had a negative impact on their mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.
During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in various countries have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms prior to the pandemic.
Researchers also found that many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
As the pandemic wears on, ongoing and necessary public health measures expose many people to experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as isolation and job loss.
The COVID-19 situation is particularly stressful because it’s hard to predict how things will develop, and our circumstances are changing rapidly. This can leave us feeling powerless like we’re no longer in control of our own lives.
As is the case in many aspects of our lives, there are things we can’t control in this situation. These include the actions and reactions of other people, how long the situation will last, and what might happen in the future.
Although these things might leave us feeling helpless, in reality, there are still a lot of things we have power over in our lives, even during these trying times. Redirecting our energy towards these things will help us deal effectively with this situation.
Community-related risks for mental health-
Since the pandemic was announced, at the community level, there has been disruption of, or more limited access to basic services, such as kindergarten, schools, and routine medical care.
Several countries have seen a re-organization of hospital services, with provisional care (including re-assigning doctors and nurses not usually involved in critical care).
There have been closures, partial closures, or reduced services of inpatient and day-care facilities, with outpatient contacts reduced in some places to emergency cases only. Some hospitals have been unable to accept new inpatients due to the risk of infection.
Questions have arisen on how to deal with the risk of infected patients in closed units infecting staff and other patients. There have been concerns for the possible future lack of adequate resources for mental health services as most resources are directed towards ICU and somatic care.
Importantly, even the activity of child protection services and currently existing programs of support or supervision by youth welfare agencies have been disrupted or interrupted. The lack of access to these basic services can be particularly harmful to vulnerable children and/or families.
Re-direct your energy towards the things you have control over-
- Your response to Covid-19: Following the official health guidance like staying at home and washing your hands regularly, is an important action that you have control over. In case you have to go out for groceries and other work keep a safe distance from others and have a bath after returning. It allows you to maintain your own wellbeing, while also contributing to the safety of your community.
By playing your part, you are helping to slow the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable in society. For authentic health service-related information visit the official government/ state website or follow those of the World Health Organization.
- Worries and Anxiety- Stress and anxiety are often accompanied by an overactive mind, full of circling thoughts and worries. Writing your thoughts down in a journal is a simple, yet highly effective method for calming a frantic mind.
A good place to keep this journal is beside your bed, as it’s often when we are trying to sleep that buzzing thought are the most troublesome.
Steps to effective problem solving
- Define the problem
- Think of as many solutions as possible, no matter how silly they may seem
- Consider the pros and cons of each solution
- Choose a solution to try
- Plan how you are going to implement the chosen solution
- Carry out the solution
- Review how it went. Were there any problems? What did you learn?
- Repeat the process if your chosen solution does not solve the problem.
3.Your Social Connections- Social isolation is one of the biggest mental health challenges we are facing with this crisis.
Many people are living alone or away from their support systems, which are usually essential well-being boosters in a time of crisis. We are tactile, social creatures by nature, so a lack of physical contact can be extremely difficult for us to cope with.
Maintaining social connections is crucial to your well-being at this time. Use all the tools available to you – phone or video calls, emails, letter writing, and social media, to stay in regular contact with your friends, family, and communities.
Remember that this period of isolation will end, so use this time to strengthen your connections, rather than letting them fade. You can also pursue your hobby/passion at home so time spent will be best utilized.
Tip for you – A powerful tool that you can make use of at this time is your ability to provide support and reassurance to others. Reaching out could involve sending a card or flowers, doing someone’s shopping, or calling for a quick catch-up.
This is particularly important for people living alone. Think of the people you know who are alone, what small gesture could you make to let them know you’re thinking of them?
- Your Self-care- Looking after yourself is an essential part of maintaining your energy levels and your resilience to stress. Airlines advise you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping other people. The same idea goes for self-care – you need to look after yourself first, in order to be there for other people.
- Eat a healthy diet – Watch out for overeating and over drinking, which are common coping mechanisms in times of stress.
- Get as much fresh air and daylight as possible. Get outside if you can, but even if it’s through a window, this will give you energy and help you sleep better.
- Make sure you are getting enough good quality sleep – take time to wind down before bed
- Exercise regularly – moving your body is a great antidote to stress.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy – it’s important to give yourself a break and do things that boost your mood.
Tip for you- Try something new. These strange times provide an opportunity for us to break out of our normal routines and try new things. You could start a new project, try a new recipe, learn a new skill or try a new form of exercise.
- Your Routine- We are creatures of habit, so disruptions to our usual routines can add stress to what is already a challenging time. Creating a new routine can bring the structure back into your life. It also breaks up your time and prevents the days from blending into each other. Try to get up at the usual time, get dressed as you normally would, and stick to regular mealtimes.
It is also important to recognize that in a time of crisis, you are unlikely to fulfill all your roles and responsibilities in the way you normally would. For example, you may now find yourself parenting and working simultaneously.
Prioritizing your time will ensure that you make time for the important things while being realistic about what you can achieve.
Tip for you- Divide the day. If you are working from home, it is important to create a clear distinction between work and downtime. Exercise is a great way to do this, as it gets you moving and releases tension. If you aren’t working, it is still a good idea to create blocks of time for different activities and allow yourself to wind down in the evenings.
- Your Environment- You are more than likely spending a lot of time at home at the moment, so it is worth making your environment as comfortable as possible. Think about how you can make it a more pleasant place to be – can you clean or de-clutter your space, or decorate it with photos or pictures? What about the smells and sounds in your environment, how could you improve these?
This is particularly important if you are isolating yourself and are confined to just one room. If possible, assign different activities to different areas in your room – one corner for working, another for relaxing, listening to music, or reading.
Your Tip- Bring nature inside. A great way to improve an indoor environment is to bring some plant life inside. You could cultivate some seeds on a sunny windowsill, get a houseplant or some potted herbs or cut fresh flowers for a vase. Not only will plants liven up your home, tending to them is a restorative practice that can boost your well-being.
- Your Outlook- Maintaining a hopeful outlook in times of fear can be difficult. You might think that the future is bleak, or that being hopeful means you are ignoring the reality of the situation. But having hope is not the same as being optimistic about everything.
The best type of optimism is one that is balanced and realistic. Balanced optimism means you can hope for the best while being prepared for the worst.
If you are finding it difficult to feel hopeful about the future, consider the silver linings in this situation. Ask yourself – what is good about what is happening? What are the opportunities here? Perhaps it has allowed you to slow down, spend more time with family or learn and do new things.
Your Tip – Keep a gratitude journal. Take a moment every evening to write down three things from the day that you are grateful for. This could be as simple as the weather, a pleasant chat with a neighbor, or a tasty meal. Research shows that actively focusing on the positive elements of your life can help to change your outlook and improve your well-being and resilience.
Keep an eye on your mental health- During these challenging times, we need to keep an eye on our mental health and look out for those closest to us. There is no doubt that this is a tough situation, and it’s understandable that you might be feeling low or missing your loved ones.
Reaching out and supporting each other is the best way for us to get through this. Remind yourself that this situation will not last forever and that although you may feel lonely, you are not alone. We are all in this together.
Policy responses and considerations;
Throughout the pandemic, leading public health organizations — including the World Health Organization, United Nations, and government of major countries — have released general considerations and resources addressing the mental health and well-being of both general populations and specific, high-risk groups during the pandemic.
Most of the countries have taken some steps at both the federal/central and state levels to address the pandemic’s impact on mental health, but with mental health problems on the rise, key issues are likely to persist.
The pandemic has both short- and long-term implications for mental health and substance use, particularly for groups at risk of new or exacerbated mental health disorders and those facing barriers to accessing care.
Phased COVID-19 vaccinations are taking place across the country, perhaps signaling that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon.
However, many of the stressful conditions employed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus are likely to persist for the near future, given the slow and troubled rollout of vaccinations across the country, instances of people refusing the vaccine due to fear or uncertainty, and the need for vaccinated people to continue taking existing precautions to mitigate the outbreak.
As policymakers continue to discuss further actions to alleviate the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be important to consider how the increased need for mental health and substance use services will likely persist long term, even if new cases and deaths due to the novel coronavirus subside.
Will the vaccines end the covid-19 challenges?
Now that we have a vaccine next question is will the vaccine end the pandemic?
The short answer is YES and the long answer is unless about 80%-90% population is vaccinated pandemic is not likely to end. Since the virus is contagious and easily transmissible any % is not going to be enough unless about 85% of the population is vaccinated.
The herd immunity threshold estimation varies from 70% to 90%. In order to return to normal life, the vaccine is crucial for reaching herd immunity.
To achieve a sense of normalcy more than 85% of the population need to get vaccinated. Both of the approved vaccines require two doses within an interval of 30-45 days. Indian companies were the first to announce vaccines for covid-19 and have also given them to many countries as well.
India will play a crucial role globally in vaccine manufacturing since two companies have announced and they have already increased production to cater to Indian needs as well as to fulfill global requirements.
The best way is to protect the vulnerable and the people who have to go to work. We all need to get vaccinated and continue to wear a mask, wash our hands and practice social distancing.
The vaccine presents the disease, but it does not necessarily prevent infection.