The Covid-19 epidemic and the measures taken to protect it from the epidemic brought along a difficult process. Various aspects such as the fight against the disease and its effect on the psychology of the people caught in the epidemic, and the psychological impact of the measures taken to stay away from the epidemic caused different diffractions on people.
Fear and anxiety about an illness can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress empowers you, the people you care about, and our community.
Our stress, anxiety, and changing habits that have emerged from the very beginning of the pandemic process;
- Fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones (Will we survive, what if we can't protect our health? Me and my loved ones question)
- Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping late, staying up late, and difficulty falling asleep)
- Imbalance in the diet (leaning towards unhealthy and malnutrition, more or less nutrition)
- Concentration difficulties (Inattention, forgetfulness, long thinking)
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs (New addiction acquisition)
- Incorrect dosage and over-the-counter psychiatric medication use
Is it possible to cope with our stress and anxiety in the complex process we are going through?
- Especially in the first weeks, many of us may have been exposed to harmful and sensitive content that spreads rapidly on social networks. Knowing that most of this content does not reflect the truth, we should know that watching these images will only increase our anxiety and stress, and we are far away from watching, reading, or listening to harmful and sensitive news.
- Let's not stop following the agenda at certain times of the day. (Information from the suitable sources helps reduce your stress)
- Our physical health starts with taking good care of our body;
- Create a routine for yourself
- Don't forget to take a daily shower
- Even if we are at home, let's not continue our day with our sleeping clothes; let's switch to daily clothes.
- Do not forget to relax and exercise during the day (at least 45 minutes)
- Take a deep breath when your anxiety is gone (take it through the nose and give it slowly through the mouth)
- Connect with others. (Friends, relatives, etc.) Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you're feeling.
- Check your loved ones often. Virtual communication can help you and your loved ones feel less alone and isolated.
Effects of the Pandemic on Family and Children
Children and teenagers partially react to what they see from the adults around them. From here, Parents and caregivers can provide the best support for their children when they cope with COVID-19 calmly and confidently and manage their stress and anxiety properly. Children should be careful about accessing misinformation because they believe what they hear and see more easily than adults, and it can be challenging to change their perceptions.
Monitor behavior changes in your child
While not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way, some common changes to watch for include:
- Mood swings (laughing, crying, worry, anxiety)
- Incessant crying and anger control disorder in young children
- Bedwetting problem, returning problems in toilet habit acquisition
- Regression (relapse) pacifier habit or regression in speech
- Difficulty sleeping or falling
In Individuals During Adolescence
- Changes in unhealthy eating or sleeping habits (late sleep and late waking)
- Despair, unhappiness
- Irritability and “out of control” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoidance of school responsibilities
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of movement and exercise
- Increase in technology addiction avoidance of social relations (to get away from family and friends)
- Unexplained headache or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Ways to support your child in this process:
- Talk to your young or adolescent child, regardless of whether they are aware of it, about the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Answer questions about COVID-19 and share in a way your child can understand.
- Tell your child that he is safe and make him feel that. When they feel sad, tell them it's okay, and everything is fine. Explain how you deal with stress and what you do, and let your child manage their stress by taking you as a role model.
- Limit a variety of news channels, including family social media. Children may misinterpret a news story and become frightened.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family.
Effects of the Pandemic on the Elderly
The elderly, those who do not have adequate health conditions, and people with chronic diseases are exposed to increased stress due to COVID-19.
- High fear of death and being alone and feeling abandoned
- The elderly and people with disabilities are at high risk for mental health problems such as depression.
- Mental health problems can manifest as physical complaints (headaches or stomachaches) or cognitive problems (such as trouble concentrating).
Reactions to Covid-19 in general:
- Concern about protecting himself from the virus because his risks of serious illness are higher.
- Concern that they will be deprived of regular medical care or community services as facilities are closed, services are reduced, and public transport is banned.
- Feeling socially excluded, especially if they live alone or are in a community setting where visitors are not allowed due to the pandemic.
- Feeling burdened and guilty even though their loved ones are constantly looking at them
Human Psychology Out of Quarantine
- Being exposed to COVID-19 and being separated from others can create intense stress and anxiety even without the disease.
- Emotional reactions of people coming out of quarantine may include:
- Mixed feelings including relief after quarantine (feeling of loneliness from being isolated for a long time)
- Fear and worry about your health and the health of your loved ones, and may I experience the same things again?
- Stress from the experience of watching yourself or being watched by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Even if it is proven that you do not carry the virus, your friends or loved ones avoid getting close to you and feel sadness and disappointment accordingly
- The guilt of not being able to perform routine work or parenting duties during quarantine
- Other emotional or mental health changes
- Individuals coming out of quarantine should be aware of all these physical and emotional changes and manage them in a process.
- Socially, instead of excluding people after quarantine through empathy, we should understand them and communicate with them properly.
Covid-19' Response Officers
- Being on the side of responding to COVID-19 can cause emotional damage to individuals and cause secondary traumatic stress. Secondary traumatic stress is reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual's traumatic experiences rather than direct exposure to a traumatic event.
- Things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress reactions include:
- Recognize that every family can be affected after a Second Traumatic event.
- Learn and be aware of physical (fatigue, illness) symptoms and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
- Give your family and yourself time to heal the situations from the fight against the pandemic.
- Create and implement a plan of self-care activities you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading.
- Get away from the Covid-19 news outside of your work and focus on other things.
- If you think that you have lost your ability to care for your family and patients due to the epidemic's effect, while there was no problem before the Covid-19 epidemic, seek help!
You can read more about COVID-19 in the articles below:
How to Make Disinfectant at Home - Covid19
How to Have Intimacy & Safer Sex During COVID-19 Pandemic
Relationship Problems During COVID-19 & Quarantine - How to Solve Them