The Coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on many lives and even livelihood. Add to that the imperative social-distancing, that leaves no outlet for healthy discussions and conversations that could have helped ease your mind.
Clinical psychotherapist Dr Radhika S Bapat compares the current situation to many of the past global calamities. She says, "Data from past research on the mental health impact of people who were affected by past recessions suggests that those who experience sleep disturbances, excessive worrying, depression and overuse of substances must seek help. The hardships could be financial, job-related or house-related."
"Most countries have plunged into recession and this is being compared with the 1870 great depression. But if anything, humans learn from their pasts in order to evolve and be prepared for the future. So, it is important to understand that we are not alone in this, together - the keyword here is “together.” I’ve been talking non-stop to reporters and clients about stress, anxiety, depression and
death wishes over the last 3 months."
Of salary cuts and losing jobs
Dr Bapat adds, "All pandemics are marked by uncertainty, confusion, and a sense of urgency. Psychologists advise people to not be rash while considering a career switch." However, she also says that if you must, keep in mind the following:
1. Switching careers especially during a recession is laborious. Be realistic, this will take time.
2. Take decisions from a place of reasoning rather than impulse or emotion
3. Do a cost-benefit analysis of the choices that you have
4. To improve your decision-making capacity address your stress, lack of sleep, loneliness, or lack of exercise.
5. Having a purpose in life is a tool to combat financial hardships in the long-run, it is, therefore, okay to compromise on a title or a lesser pay-check until we tide over this year.
How to cope with pandemic induced stress
According to Dr Bapat, those who coped well despite severe adversity in their life worked on the following four aspects of themselves. So, if you are feeling low and out, give these suggestions a go and feel better, even if ever so slightly:
1. They gave themselves more credit for how they would be able to handle stress (called “perceived control)
2. They worked on having more faith in their ability to handle negative consequences (self- efficacy)
3. They made sure to occupy themselves with a routine however basic or sub-optimal (brushing, grooming, self-care despite the emotional pain)
4. Saying “Yes” to online socializing, rather than withdrawing (this takes a lot of effort, but do it).