Coping With Stress Under Coronavirus Outbreak

COVID -19 has become a matter of great concern worldwide as the virus is spreading at an alarming rate, with the number of affected people and the number of deaths rising everyday. The daily life for all of us has come to a near-halt after the government has imposed a nationwide lockdown in order to control this pandemic. At such a crucial moment, it becomes all the more important for each one of us to take care of our mental well being.

It is rightly said that” A healthy mind is equivalent to a healthy body.” The more the positive outlook a person has in any anxious situation, the better is his emotional and physical well-being, the stronger the immune system and lesser the chance of catching any type of infection. The immune system plays a vital role here as it does a commendable job by protecting us against the disease causing microorganisms. If you keep stressing about a disease, not only you weaken your immune system but at times you may also start feeling symptoms without actually having the disease, so it is very important to keep your stress levels under check.

There are several ways of strengthening one’s immune system: a proper diet with lots of green vegetables and fruits, adequate intake of Vitamin C and Vitamin D, meditation, sitting in the sun, 30 min of any form of exercise daily, (which also has the added benefit of releasing feel good hormones in the body) and breathing exercises in fresh air can definitely help beef up your immune system.

Coronavirus stress

The nationwide lock down has also caused panic in the society because of several reasons like family members and friends being stuck at different places and not being able to meet each other, exams of students being postponed , office goers having to sit indoors the entire day and many such other reasons. All of this might sound very negative at first but at the end of the day, it is our attitude towards it that matters. What if we take all of this as an opportunity? An opportunity for a lot of things we never got the time to do, to learn something new, to pursue our hobbies, to share the work load in the house and to spend enough time with our family members, about which we always used to complain.

In order to reduce the fear which is haunting each one of us, we should focus on the things that are in our control rather than the things that are not. Instead of just watching the news all day, we should keep a fixed amount of time for it and spend the rest of the time for other recreational activities.

We should also take the necessary precautions seriously like wearing of masks, washing and sanitizing of hands frequently, social distancing, ,remaining indoors and following the instructions given by the government. Besides that we can also boost each other’s morale by making use of the phone /video calls to our family and friends and also reminding them of the necessary precautions that need to be taken time to time. For people with severe anxiety and stress, it is advisable to take the help of a counsellor telephonically which would definitely help them to calm down and deal with the situation.

I would also like to draw attention towards the doctors who are at maximum risk of catching the infection and passing it on to their family because they are directly coming in contact with patients. Earlier it has been seen that many cases of violence have been reported against the doctors who are doing their level best and even risking their own lives, so the general public should cooperate with the doctors and not add to their stress. Also it is advised to visit the hospitals only in case of emergencies and not for minor ailments because frequent visits to crowded hospitals can get them cross infected, Moreover, a priority treatment will be ensured to emergency patients.

Amidst this lockdown I would like to say that,” Every cloud has a silver lining. “This bad phase too shall pass and when it does, we all will return to our normal life forgetting all this as a nightmare. The government is doing whatever is possible from their side to deal with the situation and we just have to overcome the fear in our minds and be hopeful that the world will soon recover from the physical and mental trauma inflicted by this pandemic.

Ishita Kaul is a PhD scholar in Psychology at Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore whose area of study is 'Emotional Intelligence as a Mediator between Stress, Burnout and Coping among Medical Doctors of Himachal Pradesh.' She is a native of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.

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