Pandemic and Stress
We have all felt the impacts of the pandemic on ourselves and our loved ones and have shown incredible servitude and strength through this trying times.
Stress plays a huge impact on us physically, effecting our cardiovascular system, Central nervous system, the correct functioning of our adrenal glands, and endocrine systems, our digestive system and causing muscular pains
Mentally, stress results in depression, mood swings, insomnia and eating disorders.
None of us could have predicted this event and suddenly our five year plans are altered , our children’s degrees have been put on hold, careers have been broken and business have been shattered.
We have collectively been exposed to daily death counts and worldwide rioting and anger which has had a toll on our personal and collective energy.
We have become teachers, family carers, breadwinners, work from home employees all within a few months.
And through all of this, we have tried our best to stand tall and remember to breathe.
This has not been easy on any of us and the adjustment to learning to live in a new world is going to take a long time.
According to the UK Health Org More than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) report feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most common issues affecting wellbeing are worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%).
Main drivers of stress have been:
Social Isolation – many people have been isolating for 3 months or more alone at home with no human contact. Others have been away from loved ones. Socialising and interacting with others, laughter and fun are great immune boosters and serotonin lifters, so being without these things has played a toll on our wellbeing.
Job and Financial Losses – we all know the toll that covid has played on job losses, people have taken pay cuts and many are afraid for the security of their jobs. Business have closed overnight and some are barely holding on by a thread. The pandemic is forecast to cause the worst recession since World War 2. The economic output is dire in almost all countries. Retail spending and Oil demand has dropped to unprecedented levels.
Housing insecurity and quality – many familes are housed together in places that are too cramped for people to all be in for a long period of time. Families are worried about mortgage repayments which adds to their high stress.
Working in frontline services – the nurses and hospital workers are seeing untold sadness and death on a daily basis
Additionally, 24 studies were collected that documented the effects of quarantining, showing that people in quarantine have developed symptoms of low mood, stress, anxiety, and depression.
The effect has been significant on the younger generations, lots of GenZ and millennials work in restaurants or hospitality industries which have been brought to their knees during this crisis. The older of the GenZ have been studying and worry about how this time off from high school or college will affect their university admissions.
Parents have had to worry about keeping their jobs, losing their jobs, putting food on the table, working from home, while teaching their children the toll on their stress levels and mental health has been significant.
No one truly knows the PTSD that will follow from months in isolation, I have heard friends say they are afraid to go out and socialize, they have forgotten how to, they don’t know how to return to the office or to get onto public transport.
Frontline carers have felt this strongly and some have struggled to cope with so many people dying in their care or watching family members who cannot help their loved one during the illness.
Survivors of Covid have experienced PTSD from the trauma associated with being in ICU, with the effects of the virus on their body and knowing the danger they were in has caused huge stress on their mental health.
What can you do?
Stay connected to friends and family online – speak to people, have conversations, socialize with family and friends. We are now able to see a few more people than before, take advantage of this but don’t put yourself in a situation where there are too many people and that stresses you out. Be sensible, start slowly, one friend at a time.
Go for walks and get some air and sun on your face – Nature, take your shoes off and walk on the grass, hug a tree, sit in the sunshine, breathe the fresh air, let nature touch your soul and love you.
Get exercise – moving increases the feel good hormones, make exercise a daily part of your routine.
Practice Yoga – it will stretch your muscles and calm your mind
Move away from the media and news for a while – fact overload, its all just too much, take a break, switch off from the news, trust me it will still be there tomorrow.
Meditate – Meditation will relax your mind and your body
Breathing exercises – filling your lungs with air, doing ten minutes of intense breath work can help with depression and anxiety. For a more intense breathing, do holotropic breath work, you can read more online or on you tube. Breath work is great for opening your heart chakra.
Dance – yes, put on your favorite music and move. Moving your body releases trapped energy and signing along opens your throat chakra.
Swim or Bath or Shower - Water heals and nurtures us. Swim in the ocean if you can, the salt grounds us and calms our minds else run a hot bath with some lavender oil and sea salt.
Sleep - ensure you are getting enough sleep, our bodies cannot function with inadequate rest.
Be gentle and kind to yourself – you are doing the best you can, remember that.
Ask for help- speak to someone, there are therapists available online that are there to help you
Human beings are resilient creatures, we have survived collapses of empires, larger pandemics, wars and famine.
We will survive this and we will all laugh and dance together again.
Hoof, Elke Van, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. “Lockdown Is the World's Biggest Psychological Experiment - and We Will Pay the Price.” World Economic Forum, 9 Apr. 2020, www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/this-is-the-psychological-side-of-the-covid-19 pandemic-that-were-ignoring/.