Guwahati: The world is in panic mode right now. With the COVID-19 impacting almost every part of the globe; financial uncertainty, indefinite isolation, rise in death toll and constant depressing news on media are getting everyone worried.
This is not only taking a toll on the physical health but also the collective mental well-being, especially for people who are living with conditions like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety.
Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised people to protect their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
People suffering from anxiety disorders and OCD are most prone to breakdowns in stressful situations like these.
Simran Yadav, a student of psychology from MIT- World Peace University of Pune, says that according to DSM 4TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel) increase in the levels of anxiety leads to OCD. “Let’s take the example of the cleaning habit of people suffering from OCD, which is different than us. It is already difficult for them to suppress their thoughts and with the constant blaring of ‘wash your hands’, their compulsion reaches to a different level altogether,” said Yadav. The fear of infecting their near and dear ones leads to the further amplification of the present condition.
However, not all is just doom and despair as there are few ways to help cope with such a situation.
It’s okay to feel vulnerable and acknowledging the anxiety
Anindita Nath, who is a senior consultant at ABACUS Management, stated that the very first job is to acknowledge your anxiety. This proves to be a normal evolutionary reaction to any perceived danger or threat. It is okay to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed as we witness updates of the outbreak. What’s important is to acknowledge it and start preparing for ways to negate it.
Trying to manage and limit the inflow of news
These days, you find the word corona or Covid-9 plastered in almost every newspaper, website, social media or TV. So there is no running from it. The best you can do is limit the time you spend watching stuff that you know isn’t going to make you feel better. Setting up specific times to check on the news is one way.
Secondly, with a plethora of information flowing all around, try to zone into few specific and valid news outlets who stay informed and true every time. Government portals are also a good source of information.
Get your body moving
Physical activities like exercising is a classic strategy for anxiety reduction. However, it need not be a gym or aerobic classes. Search for ‘exercises to do at home’ on YouTube and you will be offered a plethora of videos. So, roll out your mat and start exercising.
Reaching out to people
This advice can work both ways, says Nath. It goes without saying that loneliness is bad for all social animals. “Reaching out to people and addressing their issues or just a simple hi and hello means a lot,” she adds.
This is equally applicable to people who are going through situations of anxiety. If you feel the triggers again, just call up your friend (who is aware of your situation) or even your consultant for relief.
Nath, however, advises to keep the call short and end it on a happy note.