The COVID-19 pandemic has caused everyone to stay within their homes unless of an absolutely necessity.
Everyone deals with stressful situations differently, but some of those tactics could be unhealthy for one’s mental health. The protocol for social distancing and the shelter-in-place order were the large reasons for an increase in people dealing with depression and anxiety during these times. Those that were already affected by mental health issues have seen a spike in their symptoms since the virus appeared.
“Nearly half (45 percent) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. As the pandemic wears on, it is likely the mental health burden will increase as measures taken to slow the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, business and school closures, and shelter-in-place orders, lead to greater isolation and potential financial distress,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The effects of a negative mental health can also affect a person’s physical health. Isolation was linked to depression due to negative mindsets and a lack of a regular routine. Those dealing with depression had no interest in physical or social activities causing increased risks of worsened mental and physical health.
“It’s normal to accept that you are a normal person having normal reactions to an abnormal situation. With both anxiety and depression, going out and taking a walk, focusing on the future, and remembering that this is a period of hardship […] will help to relive some of the worries and stress. All periods of hardship come to an end,” psychotherapist and author, Laurie Nadel said.
Dr. Laurie discussed the ideas of what she called “the three elephants.” This idea included loss of control, loss of safety and loss of identity. These all connected in ways of everyone losing a sense of stability within their lives because of the pandemic. When people cannot control or prevent what is happening, it may leave them with a feeling of vulnerability and uncertainty.
It is important to remember to avoid isolation as much as possible. With the stay at home order in place, the feelings of isolation had been proven to worsen one’s mental health. If someone is living alone, it was recommended to seek any type of support whether that being online support through therapy or simply connecting with someone you are familiar with online.
“If you are living alone, try not to spend too much time without contact with other people,” Dr. Laurie said. “People living together in isolation have to develop new routines, but it is important to spend five minutes a day and just hit the pause button on whatever you are doing.”
In stressful times such as these, it is important to remember to take care of your mental and physical health. The CDC recommended taking a walk or exercising, maintaining healthy eating habits, meditation, and self-reflection.