Dealing with stress and anxiety during COVID-19

gnlm opinion

Like other pandemics and emerging disease outbreaks, COVID-19 is creating immense psychosocial disturbances. The COVID-19 pandemic can be extremely stressful. Like other occurrences in our lives, everyone reacts differently.
We have seen some reports about seeds being distributed to local people in Shan State by local authorities to build home gardens while staying at home.
It is a welcome move asthe home garden programme can help people to escape from crowds for getting vegetables and getting safe kitchen crops amidst Coronavirus spread. Besides, working on home gardening also gives the people physical exercise and helps alleviate pandemic-induced emotional distress which can lead to anxiety and depression if we can’t control it.
In fact, the pandemic is putting enormous stress on all of us but especially on health care workers and other specific groups.
If the stress and anxiety worsen, it may trigger negative physical symptoms such as an elevated heart rate, insomnia, digestive issues, weakness and fatigue.
When fear takes control, both our nervous system and emotional part of our brain go into overdrive. This response can lead to impulsiveness, panic and feeling out of control emotionally. If a person has a preexisting mental illness or history with anxiety and depression, it can often worsen and intensify during times such as these.
If you’ve been feeling anxious, frustrated, angry or downright confused lately, know that you’re not alone—we are all in this together.
There are ways to relieve your stress and improve your mental and emotional well being.
All of us need to take a break from watching, reading or listening to news stories, and that is to include social media like Facebook. Deep breaths, stretching and meditation are good ways to help your body. Eating healthy, well-balanced meals will energizeus. Exercise, gardening and plenty of sleep are vital each day, but especially now.
Make plans with friends for unwinding. That can be virtual using Zoom orFacebook Messenger or various other means, or it could be in groups of less than 10 with social distance. Talk to them, and be a good listener. Remember, sharing joys and sorrows is part of having a good relationship with your friends.
And it bears repeating -don’t turn to alcohol and drugs as an escape. That’s the last thing anyone needs to do.
If anyone is, or knows someone who is, overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, try to get some help from the call centres of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

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