Finding calm in the COVID-19 chaos 

covid stress

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Unaiza Naeem,  a 19 years old first-year medical student at Dow Medical College, Karachi,
Pakistan. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


It is 2:00 am, and you lurch in your bed for the umpteenth time. You fret over the monotony of your life, isolation has turned you into a recluse, and you are irked by being withdrawn to your home all the time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to subsyndromal mental health problems. Hinderances faced in quarantining, especially by families from the low socio-economic backgrounds, manifest as anguish and grief. Adolescents and old people have been identified as vulnerable groups that have shown risky behavior, including suicidal tendencies. Burnout among frontline workers and massive unemployment due to the economic recession has caused depressive episodes. The widespread fear of the virus that has intensified symptoms of those with pre-psychiatric disorders and many are facing appetite disturbances and insomnia.

Medical misinformation and exaggerated news are rampant, and this is causing panic. To combat this dysmorphic mental state, each of us needs to be conscious and selective of the content we consume online. To distance oneself from this emotional climate of chaos, seeking help from community forums on the internet can be a primary step. Safe counselling services can be availed via electronic devices and online therapy sites such as “Betterhelp” are also outlets for emotional first aid. Excessive binge watching is also toxic and one must indulge in reading motivational material which can have therapeutic effects. Time saved by avoiding social media can be spent in solitude, which can help rationalize the situation and build mental strength. Meditation can help cope too. Spending only ten minutes of a day in a meditative exercise such as yoga can instill impulse control.

Family interaction is also proven to be curative. Engaging in activities such as gardening, cooking, watching a movie together or playing board games while helps in psychological recovery, it also paves way for an honest conversation which allows to share discomfort, find common ground and an atmosphere of love prevails among the family members.

Wearing a facade of positivity while maintaining a strict schedule can be nerve-wracking, a feasible normal routine must be followed that does not aim to maximize productivity, rather sets realistic goals. It is not necessary to emerge from this pandemic with a lofty accomplishment or having learnt a new skill. Meanwhile, decluttering a space in home, listening to podcasts, reaching out to a friend or simply solving a puzzle are some subtle pursuits to keep sanity intact.

To adopt a positive approach, we must validate our negative feelings and then seek to untangle the turmoil. A technique that can be used is journaling our raw emotions. Writing down one’s thoughts helps get them out of your mind, helps track day to day symptoms and gives you better control of yourself. The best intervention we can have in this crunch time are self-help strategies, prioritizing ourselves and then seeking to heal others while reaffirming our faith that this adversity will soon end are viable ways of lessening the burden of mental health problems incurred in this COVID-19 mayhem.

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151415/
  2. scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-44462020005008201&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en
  3. https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/03/the-pandemic-is-already-reshaping-techs-misinformation-crisis/
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/best-online-therapy-4691206
  5. https://www.verywellmind.com/stay-mentally-strong-during-coronavirus-4800190
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2017/08/05/7-science-backed-reasons-you-should-spend-more-time-alone/#119208191b7e
  7. https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-importance-and-benefits-of-meditations/
  8. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meditation-benefits_n_5842870
  9. org
  10. https://liveboldandbloom.com/09/lifestyle/fun-things-to-do-at-home
  11. https://www.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2009/Pandemia-Influenza-ENG-2.pdf
  12. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1

About the author

Unaiza Naeem is 19 years old first-year medical student at Dow Medical College, Karachi,
Pakistan. She has been associated with science and creative writing clubs at school and
college and has been actively engaged in volunteer work at medical school. She has recently ventured into science journalism and taken keen interest in neuroscience and have been involved in reading and writing research articles related to this subject. She hopes to pursue a career in medical research.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

No way out for Eurozone’s stagnating economy

COVID-19 lockdown hits working mothers harder than fathers

Global aid appeal targets more than 93 million most in need next year

The Commission favours the cultivation of more GMOs in Europe

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union

Boeing WTO case: The EU puts in place countermeasures against U.S. exports

GSMA outlines new developments for Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018

“Only through energy policy we can trigger competitiveness”. The Sting live from #EBS2015: Energy Union – When will it happen?

The COP22 is under full deployment while Donald Trump threatens openly to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement

What cryptocurrencies will do to the integrity of politics

He died so I could live: UN peacekeeper pays tribute to fallen colleague

New tech infrastructure will help economies recover after COVID-19

We can’t tell if we’re closing the digital divide without more data

Embracing technology as a service will fuel the circular economy. Here’s how.

Migration situation at the Greek-Turkish border: ensuring the right to asylum

Airships, solar planes and Soviet-era sea skimmers … here’s how we fix air travel

The EU spent €158 billion on vague, open-ended rural projects

The Parliament sets the way for the European Banking Union

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Asylum: MEPs call for more solidarity among EU member states

Why and How: Advocating for the inclusion of Palliative Care in Universal Health Care

The European Parliament declares climate emergency

EU citizens want more competences for the EU to deal with crises like COVID-19

Further reforms in Japan needed to meet the challenges of population ageing and high public debt

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

China Unlimited: the dragon’s long and winding road

Why precision medicine won’t transform healthcare – but governance could

A 10-step plan to save our seas

Is this a turning point in the fight against slavery?

‘No safe way’ into battle-scarred Afghan city of Ghazni to deliver aid as traumatized children search for parents

The new era of Matriarchy?

Why the 21st century’s biggest health challenge is our shared responsibility

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

Estonia is making public transport free

Why embracing human rights will ensure Artificial Intelligence works for all

The financial world upside-down: debt failure closer

Rise in violent conflict shows prevention ‘more necessary than ever’: UN chief

Sweden is fighting loneliness by housing older and younger generations together

Joint advocacy letter template to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets to fight organised crime

Five years on from ISIL ‘caliphate’ proclamation in Iraq, Security Council makes first-ever visit

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

Deal on EU funds for common asylum, migration and integration policies up to 2027

Climate change is threatening Switzerland’s stunning scenery

Global spotlight on world drug problem ‘is personal’ for many families, says UN chief

Dare to be vulnerable, and three other lessons in leadership

Two States ‘side-by-side’ is the ‘peaceful and just solution’ for Israel-Palestine conflict: Guterres

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

November infringements package: key decisions

Capitalism’s greatest weakness? It confuses price with value

End ‘political opportunism’ that’s letting hate speech flourish, urges top UN genocide official

Security Council discusses chemical weapons use in Syria following latest global watchdog report

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Change is happening – and young people are leading the way forward

Which country offers the cheapest mobile data?

Finnish Council Presidency priorities debated in plenary

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s