Mental health is just as important as physical health. Many people around the world are physically ill due to COVID-19 but what’s even more widespread is the deterioration of one’s mental health from social distancing and quarantine.
A big problem of being isolated is that it can affect your anxiety and depression. Especially if you tend to be an active person, often socializing and keeping busy. But with a pandemic going on and many states under stay at home orders it can make you feel especially anxious.
Anxious because of the unknown, because you feel like you need to be doing something yet you can’t do it. People who spend their lives working all of a sudden laid off.
Therefore social distancing affects us because we rely on normal life and relationships to keep us sane. Seventy percent of Americans rely on close relationships for their mental health and well being.
Anxiety known as a mental illness can often lead to physical illness as well. Individuals with anxiety can lead to heart disease, reports Harvard.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than one third of americans have reported due to COVID-19 their mental health has been affected. About half of Americans are worried they will contract the virus and one fourth of people are anxious about being deathly ill from the virus. But the highest, at 62% of Americans are the most worried about their family members and loved ones getting the virus and becoming very sick.
But on top of being anxious about the physical aspect of the coronavirus, many Americans are worried about their financial stability, the country’s pending economy, and their access to medical supplies.
There are things you can do to improve your anxiety. One option is drug therapy. This can include anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depression drugs, or beta blockers. 30% of people go through life with anxiety never being diagnosed therefore getting the help they need.
There are many ways you can help yourself cope through this pandemic. You can seek help from a mental health professional. Many experts give recommendations such as creating a routine for yourself.
You can start your day by changing out of your pajamas. This may seem small but if you can feel better about yourself in “work clothing” then you can be more productive. Many people also suggest exercising. You don’t need a home gym to be able to do this, you can take a run outdoors, a walk, yoga, or follow at home workouts posted online on platforms like YouTube.
Through research there are many apps built to help your mental health. Apps such as MoodKit, Meditation apps, online therapists, or help lines. All of these resources are available online so you don’t need to leave your home to use them. Most apps are also free to the public.
I asked a friend how COVID-19 has affected her mental health and in what ways has it, she reported it “Makes me feel anxious because I’m constantly paranoid. If I feel a scratch in my throat I am worried that I have the virus.”
This is a wide spread worry for people around the world and could make you feel very anxious often because our bodies do change often. Something that could be very small and common makes you feel as if you may have coronavirus.
This is going to be an issue even when we’re able to return to normal life because it’s going to feel uncomfortable to go in public. To shake hands, hug a friend, or even just sit in a restaurant.
I asked another family friend who is older to get a different idea of what they feel about the virus and life going forward. She responded with her concerns about finances. “I unfortunately got laid off from my job, where I never expected to. I have a young child and am worried going forward that this will affect our lives and being able to pay for things. As of now, we are financially stable but if this stretches out for months on months I’m not sure how I’ll be able to remain stable.”
Unemployment numbers have skyrocketed in the last few months and are only getting worse as places remain shut down. This certainly is affecting the anxiety of Americans.
Overall, the effects of coronavirus are most definitely bigger than the physical impact we mainly talk about. It’s important for people to try to keep their friends and families’ mental health in mind and even though we can’t see them, there are many outlets to stay in touch.
Check in on your loved ones through phone calls and video chats. If we know someone who needs help, please remind them there are resources for help. There are ways we can go about our days to make us feel more normal, we can get help online, and we can stay close to people even if it isn’t physical.