By Yusta Seghete, published on 23 May 2020

Epidemics have been proved to bring about general stress across a population which sadly leads to more mental health and substance use issues. The COVID-19 pandemic, has precipitated inevitable challenges that in one way or another, has contributed to stress among people. Additionally, research has it that, it appears likely that during this time, there will be a substantial increase in anxiety and depression, loneliness, and domestic violence. 

While measures like social distancing, closure of businesses and schools are meant to flatten the curve of the virus, they will undoubtedly result to these consequences in both short and long term.

These issues are of sufficient importance that people and governments certainly need to reinforce focus on prevention and direct intervention to deal with this side of impact from the outbreak.

I personally have been a victim of dealing with loneliness and anxiety. Spending a whole day which in turn became a week, then weeks of being indoors is quite a challenge. I’m an extrovert and as a young adult I will be in social gatherings for most of my weekends. I had to readjust to the new normal real quick, because for one, work had to be done while at home and secondly, I had to detach from my extra social self to be safe.

At first, I would constantly be on the internet checking on hourly updates of the covid-19 from around the world. But with time, I realized, the findings were doing more harm than good to me. I had to stop.

Also, I was forced to change my morning and evening routines. The fact that I could no longer be on the dancing floor to stretch some muscles, or slow down on my various errands, meant I could easily turn to be a couch potato. And just like that, my morning routine, now includes indoor working out, basking in the mid mornings and evening walks. It literally makes me sane.

But even as I am doing all this, I feel a bit anxious, not necessarily for myself, but for the people around me, and for my family, which is far away, and I’ve felt a bit powerless at times. Some people I know of have become more irritable and lose their patience much quicker than I have ever seen them.

Here is the thing, uncertainty about this pandemic is loud and clear. Even with the stringent measures put in place, countries still record new cases after every 24 hours, making this whole situation even harder to understand. Personally, I have decided to put as much effort as I can to maintain a healthy mental state as I can. I have become more aware of my environment and be more kind to myself and others.

Granted, efforts by most psychiatrists to help with this situation, will definitely help a majority of us.

Let’s bank on lessons from this Mental Health Awareness Week, 2020. The focus is on Kindness. Be kind to yourself and others too. It will definitely, go a long way!

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