There is one important news in the whole world that is mentioned far less, but is gaining traction in the midst of the crisis – and that is the effect of the lockdown on our mental health
When is the last time you have sat through watching TV throughout the day, while munching on crisps and gulping energy drinks for weeks? Or reading books and online information for hours and hours without getting off the chair or couch? Well this is probably the only time since the new millennia when slouching away counts as a social service of the highest order.
COVID-19 has shown the efficacies of healthcare systems in India and abroad. Developed economies such as the US, western Europe, China, Middle East and south-east Asia have all got slammed by this contagious disease. In fact, I should be preparing for exams in my university here in the UK, but instead I am whiling away my time binging on Netflix, music, and updating myself with the current affairs in India – from the balcony shows to the crisis of healthcare professionals being beaten up for doing their job too well.
However, there is one important news in the whole world that is mentioned far less, but is gaining traction in the midst of the crisis – and that is the effect of the lockdown on our mental health.
Mental health has always been an issue since civilization began. Roughly 13% of the population have mental health issues – ranging from stress and anxiety to more concerning ones such as chronic depression. In this lockdown, the effects are in fact amplifying the existing health concerns because of the lack of people to talk to. However, as we are living in a digital age, using online platforms such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp video call can mitigate any difficulties.
But this can be very excruciating. For teenagers, school life is their place of social connections and losing out on that can take a heavy toll – especially in terms of their behavior – level of irritation of being stripped off freedoms, and the genuine concern at the same time to safeguard other people’s lives.
The lockdown isn’t necessarily all gloomy. One can adhere to a routine – waking up and going back to sleep at specific times in the day and night. Doing a bit of cardio inside our homes – stomach exercise, push ups, jumping jacks, and if we have a skipping rope we can use that. On the other hand, if we choose to slouch over a sofa and continue watching replays of serial dramas for hours and hours, we can develop serious health complications. Obesity, diabetes, spinal issues, especially pain in the lower back and slouching shoulders are a huge problem. It’s important to not sit or stare at screens for hours at a time – we need to spare our eyes too. Not taking these precautions can take a toll on our physical well being and that directly translates to poor mental conditioning.
Taking a personal example, I developed a habit of spending hours in front of a laptop and refused to go back to a gym I had enrolled after I got a little too cozy. I developed unnecessary weight and fat and that took a toll to my overall mental health. I grew more frustrated, unhappy and insecure. Upon advice from my parents and my gym trainer, I forced myself to make a routine and stick to it. After all, the only way to combat that lethargy is to make a choice to be disciplined and reap the benefits of it by becoming patient and consistent.
In the course of this lockdown, keeping ourselves occupied in some form of activity. It can be listening to songs, watching movies or television, experiment with cooking, or trying a new hobby. This is the digital and the information age and we must make the best use of it. An online learning website called Coursera (that has tie ups to the best universities in the world – Stanford, Michigan, Harvard to name a few) offers courses in arts and humanities, business, computer science, data science, IT, health, mathematics and logic, personal development, social sciences, physical science and engineering and language learning. Quite many of their courses are free and are really beneficial, after all, being taught by experts in fields of your interests is something that is the new normal for decades to come. Other platforms such as Brilliant offer similar highly sought after courses and is well reviewed.
In the midst of this crisis that has less chances to abate quickly, it is vital to stay occupied, be healthy and show considerations for others – best not to start fights as it doesn’t end well for anyone. It is important as a society to be responsible and obey the guidelines issued by the health authorities and the government. It’s rare for a society to undergo such drastic healthcare and economic crisis, and the best we can do is to stay home to protect all those who need treatment from the virus first.