Is the Lockdown Affecting Your Mental Health?

/ Lifestyle

Isolated inside homes and practicing social distancing- some individuals are stuck with toxic family members and companions under one roof. Others, even with a positive outlook in life, have been negatively impacted by the current happenings and imposed restrictions. 10 people have lost the battle to coronavirus in the UAE and the number of active cases continues to grow.

Earlier in February, MoHAP – The Ministry of Health and Prevention announced to launch the biggest national program for integrating mental health in the UAE’s health care system. According to Arabian Business, the program’s aim was set to prevent psychological illnesses and help people battle with mental health problems. However, amidst the plan, 8 coronavirus cases were confirmed at that point and hundreds of people were quarantined in the UAE because of which the focus shifted towards the rapidly growing corona infection.

According to Gulf News, the top five mental health issues in the UAE are anxiety, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders and schizophrenia. With the lockdown in place, the percentage of people impacted by the disorders has increased.

Here are some tips from experts on how to not let the crisis impact your mental well-being:

·         BBC suggested users to ‘limit’ the daily news intake and not believe everything that they read as most of it is misinformation swirling around. Such false news adds to the anxiety of ‘what will happen’ and creates unnecessary panic, especially for individuals already suffering from mental health problems. One can unfollow such troublesome accounts, and maintain distance from family members creating a nuisance. Recommended read: 12 Coronavirus Myths Busted!

·         If the people around you negatively impact your lifestyle, there are two ways to go about it. Either communicate your concerns to them or another family member or keep to yourself, not allowing the other person to interfere with your life. Sometimes the nature of relationships does not allow the second option, and if that’s the case, seek professional help. To report domestic violence in the UAE click here and to report the abuse of women and children contact Ministry of Interior on the toll-free hotline 116111, EWAA Shelter for Women and Children on the hotline: 8007283 and Dubai Foundation for Women and Children on 800111.

·         Some individuals suffer from OCD and they harm themselves with excessive hand-washing. Cleanliness and good hygiene is the best way to prevent yourself from getting the virus but for people with the compulsive disorder, being told to wash their hands repeatedly can cause issues. Boredom can add to OCD, so make sure that you keep yourself occupied.

·         Social distancing does not mean self-isolation. Keep in touch with loved ones and communicate virtually on a daily basis. Earlier, the ban on VoIP apps in the UAE was lifted, making communication for work, education and entertainment purposes easier.

·         If you’re struggling to balance work life and personal life, talk to your children about the ongoing situation, have your partner help around the house, and read this article to manage the quarantined life efficiently: Tips on Working Remotely from Home.

·         Some individuals worry that they’re strong enough to fight off the virus or if they get sick, the virus will get the best of them. Do not doubt your body’s immunity, the mortality rate for coronavirus is less than 1%. Moreover, if you don’t have any pre-existing health conditions, you need not worry your head off. Click here to learn 7 ways to boost your immune system to battle the coronavirus.

·         It is natural to feel overwhelmed and worried, but that worry should not lead to sleeplessness, fatigue, and tension. To battle sleep disorders, set a fixed routine, and get to bed on time. Make sure to switch off your gadgets, and relax by reading a good book, walking with your better-half, or having a warm bath. A new day will bring new hope. Do not burn yourself by overworking. Take it one day at a time. Embed 30 minutes of physical activity in your routine even if it’s brisk walking, get some sunlight with the kids, eat well and stay hydrated.

·         According to Gulf News, psychologists suggest that it is the perfect time to pick up an old hobby, learn a new skill, or complete things you always wanted to do but didn’t get the time to. This will not only increase your serotonin levels and cause excitement but will keep the overthinking at bay.

·         Stress is inevitable but stress management is not. Understand that it is normal to feel a lot, but you’re not the only one. The entire world is going through a chaotic phase and we’re in this together. Don’t suppress your emotions talk them out or have a healthy medium such as painting, reading, baking, etc. to let them out.

·         Stress can also lead to emotional eating which is a big no-no. Everything should be eaten in moderation be it that slice of cake or that protein shake. Eat well and don’t miss out on any nutrients and vitamins. It’s also a good time to try out new recipes!

With these tips in mind, remember to stay relaxed. We cannot control what is happening on the outside but we can certainly control what’s happening on the inside. History is full of disease breakouts, and look at us humans, we’ve proven that we can get through it all. And on days when it feels too much, whisper to yourself that this too shall pass.

Recommended read: Coronavirus Vaccine in the UAE: Benefits, Side-Effects & Latest Updates


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