Stay home, stay safe – a preventive measure by governments all over the world to ensure peoples’ safety, but are we really safe? 2020 took us all by surprise when an epidemic paved its way through geographical boundaries turning into a pandemic. Causing widespread panic among the public health organizations (like WHO) and individuals. In no more than a month lock down was imposed worldwide taking people out of their workplaces, educational institutes, social gatherings, and into their homes. Newly-quarantined people, on a lighter note, took the internet with a flood expressing gratitude for this opportunity to take a break in the midst of a global emergency. It wasn’t until these stories came forward that twisted the concept of being unaffected by COVID-19.
“The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil – they all-cause or could cause psychological distress,” – Devora Kestel, WHO director mental health department
Covid-19 is a threat to human health without the constraint of physical interaction. The influence it has had on our lives in the past few months has been inevitable. The aspect of panic it manifests is inescapable. In moments of uncertainty, people are glued to their screens, searching for the silver lining. In contrast to the attention this issue got, opportunistic parasites took over with the forged news for their two minutes of fame. Authorities repeatedly had to confirm and dismiss authentic news as the misleading caused a wildfire of panic.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.” – Dr. Tedros Adhanom, WHO director general
PANIC LEADING TO ANXIETY
Chronic anxiety tends to be triggered by an array of emotions.Currently we are suffering a pandemic alongside covid-19 that is infodemic. Excessive coverage and exposure to bad news has created a state of uncertainty – which aggravates anxiety. Having to take precautions before doing a simple act as that of shaking hands or breathing is a constant reminder that things are just not okay.
“2020 was the year of obsessive hand washing.” ― Steven Magee
As youngsters are eager to know more about their academic future, adults fear an economic recession, and the elderly worry about the health of their loved ones. It has left no age group unaffected.
EXPOSURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Quarantine has aided an increase in social media usage. Adverse effects of social media are being looked into thoroughly. Internet communities are built on the notion of bringing people together and providing them with a platform to express themselves yet the reality is quite the opposite.
Common complaints regarding stay-at-home routines are lack lock productivity or motivation. As some people have grasped this opportunity to flourish their social media accounts by progress they have been able to make due to the time on their hands, it can really make others question their self-worth.
Instagram stories, posts, Snapchat stories and Facebook posts are all a standard you judge yourself on and in a virtual world where everyone is doing good, you don’t want to feel like the nobody. By becoming overly critical, you tend to match up to set the standard of a privileged community. Such instances make it likely to develop self-hate and depression.
HOMES – A SAFE HAVEN
As some people consider their home a safe haven, others do everything in their authority to spend their hours away from home – for mental stability. It is a prison like situation in toxic households with no possible release. Either it is the physical or verbal abuse women are facing due to unavoidable interaction with their partners or child abuse, getting out of the house just isn’t an option.
Where incidences of family-led depression and anxiety are on a rise, loneliness is also striking. Cultures that promote independent silo living ensure a face paced lifestyle which makes it so convenient – at the end of a chaotic day, you have your shell to go back to. The same comfort caves have now become chambers of solitude.
WORK FROM HOME GONE WRONG
The idea of working from home sounds ideal, whereas, it is not a common opinion of remote-based employees. As simple as it sounds, creating a home office can be an entire process with a secure internet connection and suitable devices (laptops/camera/computer) as the key components. Home is not a suitable workspace especially for those living in a joint family system with the members being around 24/7.
Another reason is workplace design; firms invest in creating interactive work spaces as socialization lies in the core of their job requirement. The stress of being meeting deadlines is too overwhelming while productivity is low developing a sense of frustration.
MENTAL HEALTH AND STUDENTS
Educational departments, in this time, made certain decisions that were bound to be unfortunate. As there was no favorable condition. Lack of confidence and delay in the period of indecisiveness lead students in a bubble of uncertainty. Most of the colleges, following their yearly academic calendar, sought refuge from online classes. Online classes with regard to their purpose of saving education are themselves an impediment to it. The main focus of such sessions remains completion of the course rather than preserving the quality of education. With insensitive attendance policies, difficult to keep up with workload and lack of empathy in general – it seems as if online classes are not in student’s best interests. As if the world wasn’t stressing enough already that students are now also stressing on making the next submission date.
In the next 10 years, nobody will say that ‘covid-19’ did not affect them. It got to us despite taking every single precaution. It is about time we accept that things will never be like they were before. The normal we know doesn’t exist anymore. Only thing we have to gain from this situation is the fact that we all are in this together and for once our suffering is one.
In this time of economic, social and emotional crises the one thing we can still offer each other regardless of our current limitations is – support. With all due respect to social distancing!
“Research demonstrates that perceptions of availability of support, so knowing that you can count on others, can help even if no support is received.” – Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University