When it comes to COVID-19, most of the time, people talk about the physical effects of the virus. And it’s pretty understandable, since the fear of getting infected is not a reassuring thought for anyone. But this is exactly why we need to talk about the mental effects of coronavirus.
People are scared, and there is a lot of anxiety and panic going on in the minds of the public.
For people who are constantly battling anxiety, or for those who have issues with mental health, the recent chain of events can be overwhelming. That is why it is important to know how to manage and take care of your mental health during a pandemic.
What are the mental effects of coronavirus?
For numerous Filipinos, the fear of getting sick weighs heavily on their minds. Getting sick in the Philippines is very expensive, and a lot of people are getting stressed out thinking of what might happen if they get infected with COVID-19.
Testing positive for COVID-19 means that you have to get treated, and that means spending money that’s usually reserved for other essentials like food, bills, etc.
Another fear that people have about COVID-19 is that we do not know much about it. Until now, we don’t have a confirmed cure or a vaccine that can prevent people from getting infected. All we know is that it can spread easily, and it targets the most vulnerable people in our population.
Some millennials also feel anxiety as a result of the pandemic, since their parents are among the most vulnerable if they get infected. These thoughts can add to the mental effects of coronavirus.
For others, being stuck in their homes can feel very frustrating. People can feel helpless since there’s not a lot that they can do except stay at home and wait. These feelings can even escalate to what’s called “cabin fever” or feelings of irritability, boredom, restlessness, and even hopelessness.
Chronic stress can lead to numerous health problems. That’s why it’s important for people to recognize the mental effects of coronavirus early on.
Some people feel frustrated since they might have had plans that they had to cancel as a result of the community quarantine. On social media, people have been expressing their frustration about a lot of things, and it’s not uncommon to see people arguing and being even more combative than usual.
For people who are struggling with mental health issues, the fear and mental effects of coronavirus can cause a lot of anxiety. This is especially difficult for people who need to go to therapy, or are unable to buy their prescribed medicines.
All of these things can cause a lot of stress to people, and chronic stress can lead to numerous health problems. That’s why it’s important for people to recognize the mental effects of coronavirus early on, so that they can handle it better.
What signs should you look out for?
Here are some of the signs that could mean that you might be struggling with the mental effects of coronavirus:
- Feelings of fear, anxiety, and panic
- Having trouble sleeping or staying calm
- Confusion and/or helplessness
- Avoiding social interaction
- Being too worried about your health
Any combination of these feelings could potentially manifest as the pandemic unfolds. You might not notice it early on, but these feelings can quickly add up and take a toll on your mental health.
Mental health shouldn’t be disregarded during a pandemic
It’s very important for people to not disregard their mental health during this time. While focusing on your physical health is important, the stress and negative feelings that people feel during a pandemic can also cause people to lose sleep, have difficulty eating, and can aggravate their chronic health problems . It can also potentially affect relationships with other people.
Improving your mental health can help you cope better with the situation, and helps you take control over your life.
While COVID-19 is a serious health risk, there are ways to stop the mental effects of coronavirus from becoming too overwhelming. Managing your fears and anxiety, and engaging in activities to improve your mental health, can all contribute towards a better overall health.
Here are some things that you can do to manage any negative feelings or emotions that you might experience:
- Regulate your media consumption. Too much media exposure can aggravate any feelings of fear or anxiety, and any unsettling news can trigger these feelings. Take much needed breaks from watching the news or going on social media.
- Focus on the facts. Avoid reading or sharing fake news on social media. Only rely on trusted sources, and be more discerning regarding hearsay or rumors.
- Recognize your concerns, but don’t let it take control. It’s important to recognize your anxiety about the situation, but it’s also important to remind yourself that constantly worrying about getting sick isn’t going to make things any better.
- Focus on the present. Practicing mindfulness, or the habit of being in the present, can do a lot to improve your mental state. Focusing on the situation at hand, instead of what might happen, helps you avoid having fears and anxiety about the future.
- Keep yourself busy. If you’re not working from home, and you’re running out of things to do, try and take advantage of the community quarantine to engage in a new hobby, learn a new skill or watch movies or TV series that you have always wanted to watch.
- Bond with loved ones. If you are spending the community quarantine with your family, it’s a good idea to use this time to bond through games or simply doing chores together.
- Talk to people. If you are living alone, it might be a good idea to call up some of your friends and talk with them. Being alone during a crisis can take a toll on your mental health.
- Don’t ignore your mental health. Don’t dismiss your feelings of fear or worry as something that will pass. It’s important to recognize and affirm these feelings.
Your mental health is very important
People can sometimes neglect taking care of their own mental health, especially during a crisis. However, keeping your mind in a good place can help you make better decisions, and prevent fear and anxiety from the mental effects of coronavirus taking hold.
It’s also important to not that, though anxiety during unprecedented crises is normal, it could progress to more serious conditions.
Here are some hotlines in case you need some assistance regarding your mental health:
- New National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotlines – 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP)
- Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF) – (02) 804-HOPE (4673), 0917 558 HOPE (4673) or 2919 (toll-free for GLOBE and TM subscribers).
- Manila Lifeline Centre (MLC) – (02) 8969191 or 0917 854 9191.
- In Touch Community Services Crisis Lines – +632 893 7603, 0917 8001123 (Globe subscribers), 0922 8938944 (Sun subscribers). Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Living Free Foundation – 0917 322 7087 Email at email@example.com.
- Mood Harmony – Makati Medical Center’s mood disorder support group. (02) 844-2941.
- Dial-a-Friend – (02) 5251743 or (02) 5251881.
- UGAT Foundation – (02) 426 5992; (02) 426 6001 loc. 4872-73; firstname.lastname@example.org
- 700 Club Asia – (02) 737 0700; 1 800 1 888 8700 (toll-free); 0949 888 8001; 0925 300 3000; 0917 406 5001. Skype: the700clubasia.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.