Pandemic & Mental Wellness: Dealing with Stress & Anxiety

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By Kinka Mondal

We are living in 2020. We have become habituated with the fast lifestyle and running towards the goal for the entire week. The urge for weekends to come and motivation to deal with the Monday morning blues- was what our lives revolved around. How badly we used to pray for the extended weekends- the irony is our lives have suddenly stopped with the outbreak of Covid-19 and we are home locked for months now to control the infection; video conferencing, conference calls are the new normal for official works or education. The last thought we have, probably at the end of the day is when the world will become like before- The Usual one!

From all these things happening externally, our helplessness to control the situation, non-attributable thoughts have led to sleep deprivation. Most of us are feeling over stressed, anxious and panicking over even ridiculously small things. Hence it is particularly important at this stage to discuss about overall mental well-being. Since mental health is a complicated subject having diverse aspects, we would like to discuss regarding the pandemic stress, anxiety and the way out to live a balanced life even in this critical situation in this article We intend to continue this series and have follow-up articles discussing about other aspects in our next issue.

Let us first understand what stress and anxiety is.

STRESS: The most generic definition of stress was proposed by Hans Selye: “Stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand”.  This is the way our body responds to a specific change that happens physically, psychologically or even socially. Stress is not always negative, for example- sometimes a promotion at workplace induces stress which might be associated with the increased responsibility at workplace to work harder and that motivates one to be on the right track.

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But I will focus on the stress which continues without a relief and it turns into DISTRESS- a negative stress reaction. It disturbs body’s natural balance and leads to various physical, as well as, emotional symptoms, like-

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Problem sleeping
  • Depression
  • Panic attack
  • Worry
  • Anxiety

ANXIETY: On the other hand, Anxiety is body’s response to stress. It is a feeling of fear about What is to come! We all have experienced these on our first day at school, or before the job interview or on the name of giving a public speech. Mostly, people feel nervous. But when this situation persists longer than normal, that starts hampering One’s life, and it becomes disorder- one stops to enjoy life, is afraid to come outside the home, or even crossing the roads. If this condition is left untreated, the situation gets worst.

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We must remember the reactions are different from person to person. So, in a situation like this, there are several groups who are more vulnerable than the others. The healthcare professionals, who are battling against the virus in the front-line, have been shown to be twice as likely to be susceptible to stress and anxiety (Lu et al, 2020). Additionally, physically active people who suddenly stopped working during locked down experienced deteriorating physical and mental health (Zhang et al, 2020 ).Apart from them, the children and teenagers might also fall in this category as they are expected to not understand the severity of this situation properly but have to deal with the consequences of the situation. Also, the older population, who have been categorized as the high-risk group for the infection, are more vulnerable than the others. Lastly, those with pre-existing mental health condition, might have found this situation more difficult to cope up with.

Now, this is our duty to take care of our community to fight back together. But for that we need to take care of ourselves first.

How to do that?

Let us find out SOME solution to heal together.

Lead a Healthy life: Health is wealth. We must be stronger to fight against corona. So make your health the top most priority. Remember that doctors are not readily available now for other ailments like before, only available through phone consultation and a few apps are of help in this situation.

In terms of leading a healthy life:

Eat Healthy: Our food intake determines how fast and effectively our body can fight infections. Try to follow a proper meal plan that helps to improve immunity and also make sure, the foods are easily digestible. In the world, many studies are going on how food can be beneficial to control corona infection. So, EAT CLEAN AND BALANCED MEALS.

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Exercise: As our life has become mostly sedentary, we should devote at least a few minutes to an hour for exercising. It will help with body movements, flexibility and most importantly a sense of goodness which is particularly important to deal with this negative situation. There are multiple apps, YouTube videos available to help you with this. So, DO NOT SKIP YOUR EXERCISE.

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Sleep Well: Though our sleeping pattern has been changed drastically, try to sleep at least 6-8hrs a day. It will help to calm your body and mind. To correct your sleeping pattern, you can practice meditation. It will help to improve the sleeping cycle, as well as, fill your mind with good vibes. So, DO NOT COMPROMISE WITH YOUR SLEEP.

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Find Joy in little things: Do something that makes you feel happier, be it cooking, gardening, reading, dancing or anything. It will occupy your mind; thus negative thoughts will not arise. Though it is okay to stop sometime and doing nothing at all, but TRY NOT TO PROCRASTINATE.

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Connect with friends & family: This is an ideal time to reconnect with friends or any family members who are living far away, by simply calling them or using social media platforms. It will revive your good memories and a sense of belonging will help you to cope up with the situation. So, JUST CONNECT WITH YOUR LOVED ONES.

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Control Addiction: This is high time you can control your addiction. For example, as you are at home, for the sake of your family members, you should not smoke inside your house, so you can reduce smoking. So, UTILIZE THIS TIME TO CONTROL YOUR ADDICTION.

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Check news occasionally: It is advisable to refrain yourself from watching news channels all the time which only broadcast frightening news repeatedly. Also do not check the statistics frequently to know how many new cases have been reported. It will only trigger your anxiety. It is advisable to follow the official accounts( Twitter, Facebook) of the decision makers to avoid fake news. So, BEHAVE RATIONALLY & DON’T PANIC.

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Follow the safety measure: Last but most importantly, follow all the precautionary measures and encourage others to do that. This is the only thing we can do to protect ourselves and lower the susceptibility of getting infected. So, LET’S DO OUR BIT TO PROTECT OURSELVES.

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So finally, it is still okay if you are not feeling to do something productive someday, we are really going through a difficult time, so there is no competition to do better than others at this point of time. but our acceptance of the fact and processing it within ourselves is the most important thing to do. The world was certainly not ready to fight a battle against a pandemic. So, consider that there will be post-pandemic consequences- we can sense that but nobody knows exactly what is going to happen. Remember, we all are in it together. The wave is going to touch all our lives. So, do not over stress. If you still are not able to do this alone, please seek help from a professional therapist; break the barrier that is obstructing you from being happy.

To conclude, do not overthink about the future uncertainties: Live one day at a time!

Signing off!

Happy reading! Stay Home, Stay Safe!

(Stay tuned for our next article on other aspects of mental wellness)

Disclaimer:The article is solely for awareness purpose;any mental health issues should be discussed and resolved under expert supervision.

Copyright 2020



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0 thoughts on “Pandemic & Mental Wellness: Dealing with Stress & Anxiety”

    • I’m glad to hear from you Aritra! I urge you to spread the words with your friends and family too! Happy reading!Stay tuned for more relevant articles. Thanks!

  1. Very well written Kinka and it really helped me in understanding many things that is very common in our lives but we choose to ignore it.
    Please do keep me updating with your future posts and all the best!

    • Thanks a lot Aritri! I am working on a few more specific issues- a few more posts will be there regarding this topic. I’ll surely let you know when it’ll be in the blog page. Till then, take care. Stay safe. Much love.

  2. Well done friend..getting some valuable information…from your thoughts..thanks and your family and all people…stay healthy…


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