Pandemic and Mental Health

Do you frequently scroll your google news feed? Do you tip and tap your fingers on Instagram? Are you mindlessly watching Youtube, paying a view to any catchy lines you encounter? Do you feel uncertain about the future? Is there an upsurge in your stress level? Do you feel the need to escape your immediate environment and run to solitude?

Well, if yes, you are not the only one then. Worldwide every human being is anxious and in a stressful state, whether about your future & career or relationships and families. In the blink of an eye, things are changing like never before. People may have advised you to work out something, prepare TO-DO list, wake up early, stay awake until late at night, eat fresh fruits, meditate and exercise, and the list is long. These activities are easier said than done. 

But what exactly are we facing? Is it to do only with individuals for what they are feeling? Are we genuinely aimless, distracted, disinterested human beings who are unable to concentrate on their work?

Honestly speaking, it isn’t depression or burnout. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, describes this aimless and hopeless feeling as: ‘LANGUISING,’ which is a sense of stagnation and emptiness.  Mobility, wandering for food and shelter had been the core of human civilization in early man-days. Our world civilization has been brought up by this movement of people and the exploration route they took. We moved to different cities for education and better jobs prospect. We made friends, built relationships out of families. We adored the unexplored routes, but what did this pandemic do? It brought us to a halt; it prohibited our movement and every essence of our civilization. Therefore, today we feel more stagnant and caged. 

This feeling does not imply we are in a depressed state or not functioning in full capacity, but instead, it is an emotional building up due to highly uncertain days around. It is out of fear and fear of loss we are witnessing around. It is about the concern of our life and the ones we are surrounded with. Unlike physical health struggle in covid, this is becoming a mental struggle too, where we are turning indifferent to our indifferences. We may not notice we are slipping into the solitudes. 

One of the most common response I recollect from my friends, and family members are, 

“I am not able to visit XYZ place; it the most refreshing travel journey I experience,” 

“I used to have a meaningful conversation with ABC person, but now he/she doesn’t pay heed,” “ I get exhausted in my household chores,” “ I lost my family member,” “There is an ongoing medical crisis in my house,” and many more such grave events. 

The commonality is that it is a state of grief or loss we are facing; we either have an ongoing crisis or are affected to see the pain and panic around. Most importantly, we are mourning the loss of normalcy in our lives. Our lives are no more in control of how we handled our emotions; it is a societal change we are facing today.

Should we allow this change to scum our lives?

To prevent this feeling of languishing overpower us, we need a RAIN phenomenon, R- Recognize your emotions, A- “Acknowledge what you are going through,” I –“investigate what stimulated you,” N- “Nurture and think about how to help ourselves out of it.” And most importantly, don’t rant seating back about toxic positivity and optimism but keep up the flow of your life. Flow is the absorption of meaningful challenges and short bonds.  

Give value and time to your projects, engage with them. Once a day, spend time with fictional characters of the book, explore what’s going in their life, how do they manage welfare. A brisk natural walk or a talk with natural surroundings may ease your feelings. Or late-night NETFLIX shows or movies help in feeling attached to the characters. An appreciation text message to someone for their good doing; a conversation can lighten your mood. Keep yourself open to explore people and enjoy meaningful work experiences. Along with a TO-DO day list, prepare a RELIEVE list of all those indoor activities practicing, making you feel better and content. It is not necessary to stay cheerful, seeking happiness in the way we used to, but the STATE of HAPPINESS can be re-defined with time.

Understand the pattern of your usage of social media because they are highly equipped manipulative agencies seeking your attention to draw currency out of it. Be rational to the content you engage with, be logical to understand what you hear and see on these platforms. Additionally, there is a “NO-TIME” strategy, giving ourselves uninterrupted time, no hustle and bustle to get through things, but quiet moments to introspect, which help develop creativity. In short, develop and practices activities that help you re-discover and vitalize your mind and body.

Pandemic is a considerable loss, but we can start with tiny triumphs of our own daily activities. Build each day to develop self-management skills and problem resolving power. You never know how incredible things are until the day to take the courage to try to explore. 

Our mental state is not all our fault but is the more situational outcome. But our response and zeal to re-discover who we are, what we are, is in our hands. We are still living in a society that normalizes physical health challenges but stigmatizes mental health. At the individual level, be adaptive to accept this change, try new things, explore tiny-minute daily activities, engage with projects. As a community member, be compassionate to lend your ears to someone pouring his/her heart out, stop developing prejudices and stick around them, be a light for someone in their darkness.

This world is beautiful because it has you and me living in a society that can be supportive and collaborative.

Content Credits – Shaivya Yadav

Reference for image

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