Dealing With Stress And Anxiety Related To Social Distancing And Coronavirus

By Loveena Lama, MBBS, MSP (Psychology)

Social distancing is a new term coined to teach people maintain a safe distance from people around in order to decrease the transmission of the virus. Although it is in our interest, social distancing can take both an emotional and mental toll. Sense of predictability, a routine that is consistent from day to day helps our mind to work efficiently. With kids out of school and adults out of work places with disrupted daily routine is sure to invoke stress.

With so much information floating around and constant updates about coronavirus on media, it is sure to add to the stress. With the natural history of the infection being so variable in individuals and populations, fear of the unknown is heightened. The economic effects from not being able to work, may further add to the situation.

This is the time to gather ourselves and bring out our inner strengths. We are surrounded by our younger ones and elders in an almost quarantine like situation. Any emotional upheaval is bound to cause a ripple effect in the complete household.  It is better to observe and check our thoughts and identify if they are spiraling, as we want to be part of solution and not create problem.

This is the time to bring out the inner peace in you. This could be used as an opportunity to spend quality time with our loved ones without any worries of ‘mundane’ life. Quality time is not only going for vacations or movie theatres together or hanging out with friends but staying at home and create happiness from little moments. It also means that we do not let social distancing turn into social isolation which may have its own repercussions.

This is where technology can be used and exploited at its best. Assign virtual happy hour/s when we can do a lunch/breakfast together with family in different cities or friends on facetime. It may be an opportunity to catch up with out of touch family or long-lost friends. It is also prudent to realize that we do not become screen slaves either.

We can read books together as a family during the day and discuss/ share your viewpoints about them. Bring out the board games, card games or song games. Talk about the good times in the past. It would be great to talk to your children about their earlier childhood days. Cooking together, taking care of plants, sharing tips, tricks and family recipes, a hearty laugh is sure to lighten the moment. This may just help you or your children develop a new hobby.

And remember, ‘This too shall pass’. Human race has endured and lived through much more difficult times. Do not forget that now we have technology along with indomitable human spirit to get through this extraordinary testing time.

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