"India’s daily coronavirus death toll passed a new record Saturday as the government battled to get oxygen supplies to hospitals overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of new daily cases. Queues of Covid-19 patients and their fearful relatives are building up outside hospitals in major cities across India, the new world pandemic hotspot, which has reported nearly a million new cases in three days. Another 2,624 deaths, a new daily record, were reported in 24 hours, taking the official toll to nearly 190,000 since the pandemic started." - The Guardian (dated - 24-04-21)
As India records soaring high spikes in COVID-19 cases daily, the grim reality of an upcoming "tsunami" is taking over the world. Countries such as Thailand and Japan have also started going under lockdown after declaring a state of a medical emergency. Amidst this ongoing battle against one of the deadliest pandemics, the human race has ever stumbled across, gales of despair and restlessness take over the trembling minds of many. The monotonous feeling of being let down seems to encapsulate life, like clockwork. The future seems blurry and holding onto reality feels like an everyday struggle.
"During the survey, a total of 1871 responses were collected, of which 1685 (90.05%) responses were analyzed. About two-fifth (38.2%) had anxiety and 10.5% of the participants had depression. Overall, 40.5% of the participants had either anxiety or depression. A moderate level of stress was reported by about three-fourth (74.1%) of the participants and 71.7% reported poor well-being. The present survey suggests that more than two-fifths of the people are experiencing common mental disorders, due to lockdown and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. This finding suggests that there is a need for expanding mental health services to everyone in the society during this pandemic situation." - Reference Article: Impact of COVID-19 lockdown: An online survey from India by Indian J Psychiatry
While the physical atrocities of this virus have tarnished the lives of many, it is crucial to pay attention to its mental side-effects, as well. The pandemic has flipped the conventional way of life upside down. It is crucial to understand the importance of taking it slow and adapting to the new lifestyle while constantly being aware of the fact that life still goes on.
For those stuck in a lockdown worrying about distant relatives in COVID hotspot regions, or those reading about the surge restlessly and even finding themselves in the same spot as last year - here are some self-care tips and protection measures that could help in getting through these tough times :
1. Follow medical guidelines! - It is without a doubt one of the most essential components of taking care of not just yourself but those around you, as well. Follow COVID-19 guidelines. Stay at home and urge family and friends to do the same. The best way to fight the virus is to avoid it at all costs. Even when going out to get essential supplies make sure to have two masks on and maintain social distance. Get vaccinated if possible, as vaccination is believed to be the only way out. These guidelines may seem like repetitive blabber at this point, but these measures are proving to be the world's only fighting chance against this deadly pandemic.
2. Physical well-being - maintaining a healthy immune system is important. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can contribute to a healthy body. Exercising regularly also helps in reducing stress, anxiety and lifts the spirits. In the era of online classes and work from home, it is essential to maintain a good fitness routine. By sticking to a daily routine the feeling of restlessness and anxiety can be lowered. Managing to maintain a balanced screen time and sleep cycle could also lead to some positive changes in everyday life.
3. Awareness - one of the fastest and best ways to help those in need is by spreading information. Use social media platforms to share crucial and legitimate information about oxygen supplies, plasma donations, and even ration allocations.
4. Reach out! - don't isolate yourself mentally as a way of coping with such devastation. Reach out to family members and let them know about your presence and support. Make sure to keep in touch with your friends and talk to them about your experience with this pandemic instead of just checking on them. Keeping to yourself won't do any good as things will only spiral out of control making you feel more restless than ever.
5. Monitor your consumption of news - it is easy to get carried away by the amount of information that is being surfaced daily. Make sure to critically monitor your intake of news instead of just shutting it down completely. It is crucial to be aware of the decisions being made to tackle this pandemic as it affects the population directly. Remember that the government's policies and actions are to be held accountable as we struggle to cope with this raging war against humanity.
6. The little things - as things get overwhelming, take a moment to focus on the little things. Tasks as minuscule as watering plants or writing letters to your favorite fictional characters can go a long way in maintaining a healthy balance between your mental state and social well-being. Try to find peace in doing things you like. Every now and then passionate hobbies can be delved deep into for the sake of an occasional time out.
In the surge of a global pandemic, the only way to power through is to strike a balance between mental health and physical well-being. Even though it feels like the lockdown culture is something we have gotten used to, it is still crucial to realize the effects and impact of it on our daily lives. By following a routine and some essential self-care measures, the negative mental side effects of COVID-19 can be reduced effectively.
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin
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