The COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus 11 has caused governments around the world to lockdown cities and people in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.
These lockdown measures have disrupted our normal everyday life. Social activities like going to work or school, or seeing your friends in the gym and in restaurants have been postponed until further notice. These measures are designed to decrease the chances of contracting the virus and/or transmitting it on to someone else. However, these measures also increase the chances of mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, avoidance behavior, alcohol and/or drug abuse have all been associated with staying in isolation and quarantine 2 .
Being isolated, away from your peers and social life can foster negative emotions such as confusion, anger, anxiety, depression, and worry about the future 2 . Additionally, financial insecurity and unemployment exacerbate negative emotions 2 . Furthermore, those who've tested positive for COVID-19 may bear the burden of being stigmatized and discriminated against, adding an additional negative-emotion burden 15 .
Isolation and social distancing is associated with negative mental health states; however, there are things we can do to avoid negative emotions. Below are some evidence-based tips that we have prepared and we also provide resources if you or anyone you know needs some extra help during these difficult times. Although the situation may be difficult, this can be a time to work on personal development. We believe that we have the power to come out stronger from all of this.
Consuming the news about the unfolding pandemic may itself be a source of anxiety, stress, and fear 1 . So, here's what you can do to limit stress from the news while still staying up to date what's going on:
Staying at home means that we are all sacrificing a huge part of our social life. Thankfully, we can all use technology to connect with colleagues, friends, and family:
Most people in isolation feel stressed, anxious, and/or depressed 2 . Now may be a good time to set up an appointment with a professional therapist or counselor using Telehealth methods. These professionals are trained to help us deal with difficult emotions and situations.
Staying at home doesn't mean that we have to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for depression, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer and plenty of other health conditions 17,12 . In addition, physical inactivity may also disturb sleep and affect our immune system 8,13 .
There are plenty of ways to keep your body moving:
Seize every opportunity to move around. If possible, take an hour every day to walk outside if you can and practice social distancing. If you can't go outside now, walk around your home.
Parents probably face more challenges since their kids are at home. Below are some tips that may help you support your children:
If you have a teenager or young adult at home, it's important to:
The best food for your mental well-being is generally the healthiest food 6 . Eating healthy is a must if we want to maintain a strong immune system when we fight chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, and now--more than ever--it's super important to stick to this rule. Eat vitamin-rich and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains 6,14 . These foods are rich with complex carbohydrates 5 , contain more fiber and release energy more slowly; they are not only good for weight and/or cholesterol control but also work well as mood stabilizers 6 .
The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for all of us, especially those who are most vulnerable. Now more than ever it's important to act united as a community.
If you feel that someone close to you has been down lately, talk to them, cheer them up and be their source of encouragement. If you see that your child is struggling with emotions or performing poorly at school or other activities, talk to them and reassure them. If there is an elderly person who's living alone next door, call them and ask them if they need any assistance. Bring them groceries and make sure that they take the latest precautions from the CDC seriously 4 . Be an example yourself. Take good care of yourself: exercise regularly, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol and drugs, and be kind. As humans, we mimic behaviors from one another, so you never know whose role model you are going to be.
Even in this difficult time remember that we'll get through all this together, and the Light Lounge™ team is also here to help you in any way we can. Call us to reach us out or message us on Facebook or Twitter. We are here to help you and support you.
CDC Stress and Coping with the Virus
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