The world is constantly learning to adapt to the different challenges that the pandemic has created. According to an online survey LocalCircles, there has been a 166% increase in anxiety levels of individuals since the lockdown.

And now as we are entering the unlock of lockdown, many of us may experience signs of burnout due to prolonged uncertainty. Living in this anxiety every day and adjusting ourselves to a yet again new normal may worsen our mental health, especially when a lot of us are still recovering from the consequences of lockdown in our family, career, finances, and relationships.

  • Living In Fear: A lot of us could be heading back to work but since things are not the same, the stress of constantly worrying about our health and those around us can be overwhelming to deal with. Those still working from home may feel the weight of skewed work-life balance.
  • Living With Uncertainty: "When will this be over? When can I resume my normal routine? Will there ever be normalcy? When will the cure be found? What if there is no cure?” Uncertainty can fuel a lot of anxiety & panic as it makes us feel in less control of our life.
  • Living With COVID: Individuals diagnosed positive may face the social stigma of it as well, as there are risks of others treating them with discrimination or hatred. They face the risks of job loss, and the loss of a house to stay in.
  • Financial threat: As this global pandemic has affected all sectors, including manufacturing, logistics, IT/ IteS, travel and tourism, hospitality, etc it has led to job losses of almost 27 million youths in India just in the month of April. Many more are likely to suffer in the coming future. The fear of financial threats, lack of job security can make one feel anxious, depressed, and helpless.
  • Covid & Triggers: Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD may face a relapse due to a sense of loss of control and direction in their lives.

What can I do to help myself under these circumstances?

  • Self-Care: Before giving or taking care of others it is very important to care for oneself. Healthy eating, exercising, and resting are extremely essential to keep your body and mind healthy. If you feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, it’s important to stop, slow down, breathe, and identify what is happening.
  • Emotional Regulation: If you feel angry, develop ways to cope with it in a healthy manner. If you feel lonely reach out to someone who you trust. If you’re tired, it’s important to rest. Most people who are depressed are unable to get enough sleep and it further increases their fears about coronavirus.
  • Exercise: Research shows that regular exercise produces chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which acts as anti-depressants to your brain. It is understandable that most people don’t have access to a gym under these circumstances, hence starting a routine at home be it aerobics, Zumba, HIIT, or maybe a 20-minute run is essential. Individuals with anxiety or depression might find doing this more difficult, hence making small steps like a 10-minute routine to start with is beneficial.
  • Filter news and social media: Limit your social media intake to what is necessary. Too much of news regarding COVID 19 can exasperate an individual with pre-existing mental health conditions.
  • Dealing with a financial threat: It's important to learn to accept the current state of affairs; a lot of us are facing job losses, pay cuts, or the threat of being unemployed in the midst of this pandemic. Reminding ourselves how we got through some past difficult times is important. Check-in - on what areas of life this threat could be impacting? If it’s impacting your relationship, can you seek more support and understanding on your current situation?
  • Seek help when required: When you feel stuck, lonely, anxious, and unable to deal with the situation on your own, seek help from friends, family, and mental health professionals. Remember, you are not alone.

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