In March 2020, when the WHO declared the pneumonia-like virus as a pandemic, it overwhelmed countries all around the world. Educational institutions, workplaces, malls and airports were shut down, and we were all forced into a mandatory lockdown. This lockdown was tough for all of us, but we adopted some coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety we felt. Slowly we adjusted to this new way of life. Now, about 5 months later, as countries ease their restrictions and we all step out of lockdown, we feel the same sort of anxieties we felt back then.
We have to accept that the end of lockdown might be just as difficult as its start, and this transition can negatively impact our mental health. As workplaces and schools reopen, people fear being infected or passing on the virus to their loved ones. These fears are completely reasonable as the times are tough, and the virus is extremely contagious. However, we must find ways to cope with this fear and reduce our anxieties. This isn’t simple, but necessary. A few ways to make this transition easy on your mental health are:-
- Focus on the present
The major fear most of us have is being infected with the virus. However, overthinking will do you no good, and only make you feel anxious. We have to stop thinking about the future, as it will only add to our suffering. Instead, one should try to live in the present and not let their imagination run amok. Realise the fact that the future is uncertain and no one can control it. Focus on what you have and do your best with it.
2. Limit your news consumption
Although the news is extremely helpful and keeps us informed, sometimes news outlets tend to over exaggerate and dramatise the situation and portray it as much worse than it is. Nowadays, news fatigue has become very common. Absorbing all this negative content will do you no good. Limit the number of times you check the news and make sure your sources are trustworthy and evidence-based.
3. Talk it out
Bottling up one’s fears never does anyone any good. Talking to those you trust is helpful. The best thing you can do is consult a therapist, as it helps clear your mind and reduce your burden. Talking to your friends or family is also a good option, as familiarity can be a source of comfort. You can even try writing it down to ease the stress.
4. Go at your own pace
Recognising that you need to go at the right pace for you is important. Don’t let others pressure you to change your pace or do something you don’t want to. At the same time, don’t let this be an excuse to not work hard. It can be difficult to see the world move on while you’re still stuck in the past, but don’t let this get you down and reassure yourself that one day and things will get back to normal for you too.
Most importantly, don’t forget to stay safe and follow the proper guidelines for your country. Wear a mask, practise social distancing and wash your hands whenever you come back home. The times might be tough, but the human spirit remains undaunted.