Social isolation. Uncertainty about health and life. Layoffs. Worsening of existing relationship issues. And more… The pandemic is frequently giving rise to feelings of ‘being stuck’ among people of all age groups. We are not talking about full-blown depression here but mid-level depression and anxiety which could be dangerous if not nipped in the bud.
The virus depression
“The processing system unit of the brain is not processing information the way it used to process earlier,” says Seema Hingorrany, Mumbai-based clinical psychologist. “Human beings are not designed to be indoors or work, study, shop or live online. Plus, being 24/7 in each other’s spaces, our dirty emotions surface and our capacity to handle them reduces. All of which gives rise to anxiety and a sense of ‘being stuck’.We call it the ‘virus depression’.”
She adds that the ‘virus depression’ can be spotted among:
· Senior citizens who are essentially not very functional right now. Used to going out for walks etc, they feel claustrophobic inside the house.
· Students whose cognitive functions are not high enough to understand the gravity of the situation outside. They feel grounded as they can’t attend school, college or go out to play.
· Working professionals who are glued to their laptops with their backs hunched and artificial light staring at them. Plus,those facing job loss/ insecurity courtesy the lockdown and receding economy. Both groups are prone to mental and physical stress.
· And those stuck with housework all day. These are essentially the women of the house on whose shoulders lay the prime responsibility of cooking, cleaning and housekeeping.
The pandemic has certainly put a lot of people into semi-depression, says Mickey Mehta, leading holistic health guru and fitness consultant. “But they haven’t smartly turned inwards for solutions,” he adds. Here, he gives tips on how to beat the COVID blues…
Connect back: Since people have built more connections outside, especially on the social media, he believes it’s time to rekindle family bonds for upliftment of mood and happiness. “Spend more time with family cooking, cleaning vessels, doing the jhadu-pocha or playing antakshari in the evenings,” says Mickey.
Get healthy: Stay on top of the pandemic by remaining fit and building immunity. Eat nutritious, practise breathing techniques, sleep and wake up early, and do yoga and free-hand exercises at home. Small healthy habits can increase self-confidence and self-esteem immensely.
Reinvent yourself: Champions are born out of challenges; don’t let job loss/ pay cut get the better of you. Look at these downfalls as opportunities to hone special skill sets and talents and nurture the idea of self-employment. So whether it’s sketching, singing, gardening or baking, developing your passions will give you a lot of energy and confidence to bounce back.
Some people in this age bracket are unable to understand that life has changed; they still seem to want their way, which leads to frequent temper tantrums, says Seema. “On good days, they can go around their building for a walk. And other days, they can be happy just thinking - ‘I am okay, I don’t have the virus’. That should go a long way in keeping them calm.”
Be relationship wise
Domestic disturbance/ abuse in already strained relationships is also on the rise... “When people are away from each other, they want to be together; when together, they look for space,” reveals actress Bhumika Chawla. She, however, feels that under the current circumstances, it is important for everyone to be more understanding and caring, and less complaining of each other. Bhumika also urges couples to share the work load equally and not let one person do it all.
Finally, the golden rule
But the one big thing that will get you through is gratitude, adds the actress. “Thank God for good health, for family - near or far, for food. There will be moments that will make you feel depressed but the things that will help are prayer, meditation, chanting, staying connected with friends, exercising, and most importantly taking this time as a gift from God to learn and do things that one would otherwise never get time to do. So keep the faith,” Bhumika states optimistically. Don’t let the pandemic bring you down. Instead, transform yourself into a ‘new you’ to live the ‘new normal’ healthily ‘n’ heartily!
Seema Hingorrany’s quick-fixes for youngsters:
· Make healthy eating priority. Staying hungry for long or bingeing on sweets and junk will cause acidity,giving rise to anxiety.
· Keep yourself hydrated.
· Meditate and deep-breathe; they will reduce your depression sizably.
· Nurture hobbies. Watch stuff that makes you laugh as laughter releases good hormones.
· Connect with family, friends.
· 30 minutes before sleeping, don’t go online; read, if you must, or meditate. Likewise, don’t binge-watch Netflix till you fall asleep; you will wake up with a headache.