Implications of CoronaVirus Crisis on Emotional Health has its own moral—reflect on unattended aspects of life and reset priorities to cope and survive

The unprecedented situation throw up by corona crisis demands adaptive behavioural patterns and change in the conditioned behaviour reinforced during normal times. Dr.Nitesh Dhawan , Public Servant (Govt of UP) and Author shares some important tips for this adaptability:  

The unprecedented global crisis due to Covid-19 Corona virus has really shaken the world with its unpredictability and magnanimity. The life threatening virus is taking a heavy toll on health, economy and socio-cultural dimensions of the society. The under prepared medical health infrastructure is inadequate to cope up with the unforeseen challenges posed by the corona threat. The 21 day lockdown to curb the effects of corona virus has put the whole nation on hold with people finding it difficult to get acclimatized in the unusual situation. The spike in corona infected cases in majority of the states with rising deceased number is an indicator of how serious the crisis is. With over 1.5 million infected cases and about 100,000 deaths globally, the corona crisis demands for herculean effort at various levels.

We are so accustomed to our daily routines that any small change can disturb our moods, and when the problem is as grave as this, the emotional turmoil phase is going to sustain here for some time. The psychological aspects are bound to get influenced affecting our overall well being causing psycho-social maladjustment with our environment.

The corona crisis situation demands adaptive behavioural patterns. This requires change in the conditioned behaviour that has been reinforced during normal times. The old habits and response system may not yield desired outcomes. The lockdown period with restraint on social interactions and the rising number of infected cases may lead to fear of unknown due uncertainty about the future. People may go through anxiety, depression, emotional instability and hopelessness. Lack of fruitful work and defined goals may cause monotony, dissatisfaction and disappointments. In a situation when joblessness has increased three fold since lockdown and unemployment to 23.4 percent (CMIE data), the youth is undergoing career uncertainties and insecurities about their future. University helplines are flooded with panic calls from students during the coronavirus pandemic pertaining to career related anxiety and other counselling services. UGC has directed universities and colleges to set up mental health helpline to address student’s concerns during health crisis. Social distancing that is being emphasized again and again to check community spread of virus may induce a feeling of social isolation further intensifying the negative effects on psycho-social well being of the community.

But everything is not dark as it seems to be. When we are so engrossed in our daily routines, we seek for spare time from our professional and occupational work pressures. Now that we have got so much of time at our disposal we should use it to reflect on unattended aspects of life. This is the right time to see life from a larger perspective and setting right priorities in life. We should focus on our health and fitness which remains the most neglected area for most of the people. The time is appropriate to connect with the serenity and beauty of the nature in this materialistic life of ours. Planting trees, gardening and just sitting in silence in the company of natural environment can make us feel better. Moreover, the environment is getting healed naturally due to minimization of human activities. The time is ripe for pursuing one’s hobbies and areas of interests and uses this space creatively. Crisis times could trigger our creative potential due to increased sensitivity. We can have the quality time with our family that we crave for during normal days.

So we need to cope up in these testing times with some modifications in our affective, cognitive and behavioural components. Here are some tips to adapt effectively-

  •  Breathing is one of the key ways to be in right frame of mind. First thing in the morning time that we can do is to exhale as much as we can with an empty stomach. This is a wonderful technique to energise oneself. It also activates the Manipur Chakra which settles down all the unknown fears.
  • When we are able to connect with the silence, we are in harmony with ourselves. Meditation is the way to be in tune with oneself. Take out at least 20 minutes to sit in silence, being receptive, relaxed and enjoying the company of yourself. It is magical and an ultimate experience!
  • Follow the principle of NEAR- Now – Experience-Accept-Reality. This means that we should try to live in the present and do not think too far. We should accept the reality without any resistance and gain different experiences with grace and gratitude. This will help us in overcoming negativity and uncertainties of life.
  • Right use of energy and time is very important. This is the right time to pursue one’s creative interests. It will channelize one’s energy in the right direction and give immense satisfaction. Don’t let your energy dissipate in wasteful things or irregular routines. Stick to daily routines and do not procrastinate. Connect with the nature through gardening, planting trees and other activities. Read books of your interest and pursue your hobbies. Listening to music can relax your mind.
  • It’s important to calm down when there is so much of information overflowing around us. Everywhere there is a buzz on Corona threat that the world is going through. One can easily succumb to the pressures of uncertainty and unpredictability. So one of the techniques to be in control is to close your eyes after every hour for 10 seconds. This may seem to be quite simple but it can really help us to calm down our mind and flow of thoughts. It gives a sense of peace and control over situation.
  • Finish your pending tasks that you were procrastinating for long. This would instil a feeling of completion.
  • Reflect and revive your relationships by increasing your sensitivity. Be receptive to understand and help others.
  • Be updated but don’t be glued to television or social media platforms.

The world is going through common suffering and we should hope that it becomes much more compassionate towards humanity and nature once the tough times are over. We do not need to panic but precaution and patience is the need of the hour.