Rate this
4.7 (9 votes)
Staying mentally fit for the fight
4.66666666667 out of 5 based on 9 user ratings

Staying mentally fit for the fight

Omer Fayshal Pavel

Coronavirus has brought more than the risk of physical illness. It poses a real threat to mental health due to the fear, panic, stress, and anxiety, that many people are suffering from, writes Omer Fayshal Pavel, 25, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since its discovery in November 2019, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to become a global pandemic within a very short time. And it has brought with it other challenges that could make it a double-edged sword—not least, a battle for our own sanity.

In this lockdown, industries have ground to a halt, resulting in fewer goods being produced, and rising unemployment. In many countries–especially developing ones–the crisis is more severe and has made nations vulnerable and no different from being in a post-war situation.

As no treatment or vaccine has been developed yet, most countries have come under lockdown, and physical distancing has become important to stop the spread of the virus. People are now having to stay at home and mass gatherings are prohibited.

However, although this lockdown is saving us from contracting the virus, it may produce or worsen other conditions, for example increasing blood sugar levels or creating cardiac problems due to excessive weight gain.

But another issue that may be neglected but is very crucial at this time is mental health. Mental health issues may not be visible, but there are many hormones and biological compounds that directly regulate the physical condition.

News about the rising death toll, unemployment rates, and physical isolation from loved ones may affect people’s mental health.

There are four things that could elevate panic during the pandemic. This first is misinformation. Panic around COVID-19 can spread by social media, newspapers, or online media. Sometimes media portrays the worst-case scenario of a situation. But spreading hyped information about a specific issue can lead to hopelessness. The best way to deal with this is to control the consumption of media. There is no need to consume up-to-the-minute bad news constantly as this is not going to change the situation. Moreover, it’s important to be wary of the many unreliable sources of information that peddle hoaxes, as well as videos of online celebrities who are not experts of COVID-19 or infectious diseases.

Secondly, the lack of proper education and awareness prompts fear of everything. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are among some of the reliable sources on COVID-19 globally. Although WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, it is clear that most people recover from the virus. Taking proper precautions like washing hands, maintaining a safe social distance, and wearing a mask are practical ways to avoid contracting the virus.

Social isolation is another challenge that may lead to poor mental health. But it is also true that this critical time will not last forever. Once the situation is under control and a cure or vaccine is found, life will return to normal. Besides, there are so many technologies available to enable people to meet virtually. It’s proven that talking to people close to you reduces depression and anxiety. But discussions shouldn’t be solely about coronavirus. Moreover, one can use these moments in isolation to improve themselves, for example, learn a new language, master a musical instrument, or develop new technological skills. Many online courses are free during this period. Additionally, one can take this opportunity to reduce their weight or take up exercise. Make a routine to make this time fun.

Another issue that can also affect one’s mental health is economic instability. Most people in developing countries live with limited financial resources. At this time, many may lose their jobs or suffer from price increases of daily goods, as well as having to budget for items such as masks, sanitizers, or personal protection equipment. This fear of price hikes makes people panic-buy food, medicine, and other supplies, resulting in shortages for others who really need it. But living one day at a time and being grateful for what you have will see you through this period. Where possible, support others who are in need.

We are passing through a very hard time. Though some of us are not facing any immediate challenges, we cannot ignore that the coronavirus has transformed the world as we know it. At this time, be kind to yourself first. Avoid unnecessary panic. Make time for yourself, find something you enjoy doing, and also take time to develop new skills and learn new hobbies.

COVID-19 is not a visible war, it’s an invisible enemy. We are in it together—and we must keep our minds fit for the fight.

Main photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels
Photo inset by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me: I am a graduate and registered pharmacist from Bangladesh. My interest is working on drug development and clinical studies, with the motto of upholding the standard of public health. I have been involved in various national and multinational NGOs, especially in the health sector, and contributing health articles in national newspapers.  I like to read about organic chemistry and molecular biology. I like traditional food, travelling and reading. I can speak Bangla, English, Hindi and French.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments