How to survive the pandemic and stay sane

A few days ago the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized that fear, anxiety and stress have been common feelings in this period and are “normal responses to imaginary or real threats, and also at times when we face to something unknown or we feel uncertain “, so it is” understandable that people experience fear during the pandemic. “

Among his recommendations to maintain our mental well-being, he suggested:

  • maintain a stable daily routine;
  • get up and go to bed at the same time each day;
  • eat healthy foods on a regular basis;
  • do physical exercises on a regular basis;
  • dedicate time to work and rest;
  • take a while to do what we like.

In addition, the experts pointed out that the situation of people could be aggravated by certain changes significant in daily life, in particular, due to new movement restrictions and fear of contagion.

In those circumstances, “many people may experience an increase in alcohol consumption and drugs, suffering from insomnia and anxiety “.

“The duel, isolation, loss of income and fear can trigger mental disorders or aggravate existing ones, (…) people who previously had mental, neurological problems or addiction to toxic substances are particularly vulnerable, especially when access is interrupted to medical services, “WHO added.

Working at home, temporary unemployment, distance education for children or lack of real contact with other family members, friends and colleagues all cause stress and anxiety, he said.

According to experts, people who find themselves in stressful situations should worry not only about their physical health, but also about mental well-being.

Psychological effects of COVID-19

Damage to the psyche from the quarantine and the increase in mental disorders and diseases have been reported from all over the world.

The latest survey by the CIS, a body that depends on the Spanish Government, delves into the psychological effects of COVID-19 on the population after eight months of pandemic, which involved almost 100 days of confinement.

The survey reveals, for example, that 57% of Spaniards are afraid of contracting COVID-19, and that almost the same percentage thought in recent months that they could become a mortal victim of the pandemic.

59% of citizens fear that they will not be able to recover their life before COVID-19, while the vast majority (78%) express concern about the future or believe that the crisis will last a long time (85%).

Asked about their mood during these months, 12% of the respondents assured to live in constant concern and 7.5% in tension or anxiety.

Recently, the newspaper El País mentioned a study carried out by the General Council of Psychology that indicates that one in three and one in four Spaniards, respectively, presents severe symptoms of anxiety and depression in this second wave.

Silvia Berdullas, manager of this Council, explained that “these are prevalence rates clearly higher than those found in situations prior to the pandemic and should put us on alert.”

For her part, the psychiatrist Marifé Bravo warns that “what the WHO calls the third wave is coming, which will be the mental health consequences of economic problems.”

Impact on anxiety and depression levels

The pandemic spread over time also takes an emotional toll in Argentina, which after more than seven months of quarantine faces, like many, the increase in infections and deaths.

The Ineco Foundation, a non-profit organization that conducts research on brain function and the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, investigated the psychological effects of confinement, surveying more than 10,000 people.

From the beginning “an impact was observed on the levels of anxiety and depression in people who noticed that circumstances affected their way of life,” Ineco’s director of cognitive psychotherapy, Fernando Torrente, tells Sputnik.

With the passing of the weeks, the discomfort of the citizenship was increasing. “This impact was more noticeable in the youngest, in vulnerable groups, including those who work in the health system, in people with pre-existing mental health conditions and, in general, in those who belong to lower socio-economic levels,” he deepens the psychologist.

From Ineco they recognize that it is still early to warn what will be the most serious effects of the quarantine. “We cannot strictly speak of a mental health epidemic but rather of a generalized picture of stress, ranging from mild forms of discomfort to more severe forms in vulnerable groups,” illustrates the psychologist.

Older adults better resist the stress of the pandemic

From Berlin, another study ensures that elderly people cope better than young people with the stress caused by COVID-19, even if they are the ones who bear the worst in case of illness.

“Numerous studies show that the coronavirus pandemic can have colossal consequences for the mental health of people and affect a considerable part of the population,” says the report from the Charité clinic in Berlin and the Institute of Psychology at the University of Innsbruck , the result of an investigation that included 1,538 people from Germany and Austria.

It is noted that the elderly show “a singular resistance” to this stressbecause they need to fight a much smaller number of negative consequences than young people.

In addition, with the experience of life a greater psychological stability is formed. Self-control and understanding of the meaning of life “act as a kind of plug between the stress caused by COVID-19 and psychological tension,” the authors of this study argue.

Mental health, as important as physical

Previously, a study carried out in September commissioned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic it negatively influences the state of the psyche of the population.

The investigation covered 3,500 people from Colombia, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, the Philippines, Switzerland and South Africa, and 51% of those surveyed agreed that the pandemic had a negative effect on your mental health.

“The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the stress in millions of people. The quarantine restrictions, the absence of contacts and the economic difficulties affect the psyche of the person, and it is that the psychological well-being it is no less important than physical health, “said ICRC Director General Robert Mardini.

In this regard, the ICRC published a report on the importance of mental health and socio-psychological support in the COVID-19 situation, in which it is stated that the pandemic aggravates existing mental disorders and causes new ones. CIRC experts urge the allocation of resources to carry out socio-psychological assistance programs, as well as recommend that States focus such assistance as an inalienable part of the fight against the pandemic.

At this point, it is clear that COVID-19 will still be messing up our lives for a while. In these circumstances, taking care of mental health can be as important as the mask and hand washing.

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