Since the pandemic, people around the world have been experiencing grief, loneliness, and hopelessness. In return, there has been a spike in the consumption of alcohol and drugs. Thus, we can conclude that the impacts of COVID on humans go beyond the physical symptoms. Instead, the pandemic has caused a great deal of emotional and mental stress on people and in this article, the team at Calm Rehab take a look at some of the causes.

What is COVID stress syndrome? 

According to a 2021 Australian study conducted by Flinders University, people are experiencing severe traumatic stress symptoms as a result of the ongoing worldwide pandemic. Furthermore, it has aggravated various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, psychosocial dysfunction, and pre-existing PTSD.

The COVID stress syndrome is a complicated condition characterised by numerous forms of worry, checking and reassurance-seeking, re-experiencing symptoms, and other related behaviours like excessive crowd avoidance and panic buying.

The components of the COVID stress syndrome: 

1. Danger and contamination fear: Fear is a natural human response to danger. It directs our decisions and        actions to save us from putting our health and lives at risk. The coronavirus outbreak has heightened fears and concerns. Furthermore, fear shows itself through unnecessary self-isolation, crowd avoidance, panic purchasing, and other excessive behaviours.

2. Socioeconomic concerns: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has not only brought an unparalleled health catastrophe but has also caused severe economic downturns throughout the world. Since the global economy is heavily linked and interdependent via global supply networks, COVID-19 caused irreversible damage. Furthermore, it quickly resulted in catastrophic socioeconomic consequences such as income loss, company disruption, and health issues.

Specifically, during the COVID-19 epidemic, unemployment reached unprecedented highs. In fact, it was said to have surpassed those of the Great Depression. These employment and income losses, however, were not felt equitably. Several studies have found that certain ethnic and age groups have experienced greater financial challenges.

Meanwhile, the virus imposed long-term consequences for companies. Several businesses laid off staff and halted critical projects and plans. Due to financial constraints, several firms intended to seek funding. Additionally, the adverse effects vary across the different industries. Reports on retail, entertainment, and food businesses have implicated job losses of more than 50%. Finance, professional services, and real estate-related firms, on the other hand, faced less impact since these industries were better prepared to transition to remote production.

3. Xenophobia: Fear and uncertainty are natural in the middle of a pandemic, but they should not be used to excuse xenophobia and racism. Xenophobia is the fear and loathing of outsiders or foreigners in general. Furthermore, racist and xenophobic events have been common in the aftermath of the pandemic. They include verbal and physical attacks, social isolation, denial of access to products and services, commercial boycotts, discriminatory mobility restrictions and quarantine regulations, and other forms of harassment.

4. Traumatic stress: People have experienced various emotional challenges due to the pandemic. Furthermore, people who are experiencing severe stress are those who lost a family member as a result of COVID, those who have learned of the death or danger of death of a family member or friend, and those who have been exposed to unpleasant and unspeakable facts. This caused people to have nightmares, changed behaviour, and other life-changing shifts.

5. Compulsive checking and reassurance-seeking: Behaviours associated with this include panic purchasing and the usage of personal protection equipment. Panic purchasing caused by a fear of running out of goods is fueled by emotions and social factors, and it provides people with a sense of control over the situation. During natural catastrophes and health crises, people may exhibit these unusual behaviours to cope with the many anxieties and uncertainties that follow the current situation. During COVID, individuals have also been storing up on protective gear such as masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, and more.

How to deal with COVID stress syndrome: 

Now that we’ve identified the many sources of stress brought on by the pandemic, here are some strategies to assist you to cope:

1. Be more gentle with yourself: High-stress situations may bring out the best and worst in individuals. While some argue that now is a good time to focus on yourself and become the best version of yourself, it is fine if you are moving at a slower rate than others. Furthermore, remember that it is okay to have breaks and take a deep breath. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you want to spend the day watching your favourite movie and playing with your pet.

2. Do things you love: Setting time in your busy schedule to do fun activities will help you relieve stress, improve your mood, and broaden your social network. Taking some time to do things you are deeply passionate about will help you briefly forget your obligations, stay present, and perform self-reflection.

3. Spend some time outside: Nature will elicit a wide range of good feelings, including tranquillity, joy, and creativity. Not only that but going out to get some fresh air can also help you with your overall focus. The nature connection is also related to reduced levels of poor mental health, namely lower levels of sadness and anxiety.

4. Consume healthier meals: A nutritious, well-balanced diet can improve your ability to think clearly and feel more awake. It also helps with concentration and attention span. 

5. An insufficient diet, on the other hand, can cause tiredness and poor decision-making.

6. Prioritise good sleep: Finally, sleeping allows us to recover from both mental and physical fatigue. Sleep and health are inextricably linked; bad sleep increases the likelihood of poor health, and poor health makes it more difficult to sleep. Furthermore, fixing your sleeping schedule and making sure you have enough rest is one big step to reducing stress during these trying times.

Depression can adversely affect a person’s cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and physical state. One of the most harmful characteristics of depression is that it fools you into believing that nothing will help you get out of it, and it traps you in a loop of dysfunctional thinking, emotion, and behaviour. 

It takes time to recover from and cope with depression. What heals one may not work the next, which is why you should be aware of as many methods to help you with your current situation. That way, you will discover what works best for you.

This new article by Calm Rehab, the first choice rehab facility in Bali, will go into the many available ways to help you manage depression. Additionally, we will also attempt to have a better knowledge of depression to treat the issues directly.

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental illness that is characterised by an ongoing sense of melancholy and loss of interest. Also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, this condition impairs your feelings, thoughts, and behaviour and can result in a range of emotional and physical difficulties.

The majority of people experience sadness or depression at times, as it is a  natural response to loss or even life’s difficulties. However, if extreme sorrow persists for several days to weeks and prevents you from living your life, it may be something more. In this case,  you might be suffering from clinical depression.

What are the different symptoms of depression? 

Depression is a broad term that is frequently used to describe how we feel after a difficult week at work or school. However, major depressive disorder is far more complex. There are distinct symptoms that distinguish depression from the sorrow that we all experience on occasion throughout life. 

 

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours: Depression is recognised as a major cause of suicide. Suicidal people are overcome with terrible feelings and perceive death as the only way out, losing sight of the reality that suicide is a permanent “fix” to a momentary situation. 
  • Sad or empty feeling: Deep sorrow is a typical symptom of depression and can become chronic and severe. Melancholia is a form of sadness that progresses to the point where you lose interest in virtually everything in your life.
  • Incapable of accomplishing anything: Some people who suffer from depression lose interest in activities they formerly enjoyed. Sports, social gatherings, and even hobbies are examples of this. Furthermore, they usually turn down invitations or opportunities to join in activities or connect with others. 
  • Feeling worthless and guilty: A sense of worthlessness go with pessimism and insignificance. While these sentiments are frequently associated with depression, they can also occur as a result of poor self-esteem, neglect, abuse, trauma, or challenging events.
  • Constant anger and irritability: When someone is sad, they are more prone to be irritated. Moreover, this often results in snapping at others over insignificant occurrences. Depression may also intensify unpleasant feelings at the time, making them difficult to control.

 

How can I cope with depression? 

While depression may have a devastating effect on a person, the good news is that it is treatable. With that, below are just some of the ways one can overcome depression: 

 

  • Get a decent quantity of sleep: Sleep deprivation can impair your ability to think rationally and maintain a stable emotional state. Furthermore, this has been shown to affect work performance, destabilise relationships, and contribute to anger and depression.
  • Determine your ultimate life purpose: To avoid depression, one should try to find their purpose in life. Research states that this can help you live a better and longer life.
  • Make a list of minor goals to complete: Creating lists of goals you want to achieve essentially gives you something to look forward to. In exchange, you enrich your life with greater depth and even excitement. 
  • Make a note of recurrent thoughts: Mental health professionals advocate journaling as a way to enhance your mood and manage depression symptoms. Moreover, writing in a journal can help you recognise and become more aware of your feelings and thoughts.
  • Minimise procrastination: Procrastination makes you put off a complex activity in favour of something more pleasurable or simple. If you get used to delaying tasks, you become at risk of developing a lack of motivation and even depression.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family: Your family and friends contribute to your sense of belonging, self-confidence, and ability to cope with stress or worry. Research has indicated that people who have close connections throughout their adolescent years have a decreased risk of anxiety and depression late in life.
  • Adjust your focus: If your mood is so heavy that it feels difficult to question your ideas, take a step back and focus on something else. 
  • Maintain social activities: Although it may feel more comfortable to withdraw into your shell while sad, being around other people will help you feel better.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol or other harmful substances: While drinking and other drug abuse may appear to be a good method to distract, remove, or numb oneself from the pangs of depression, they only worsen the problems.
  • Seek expert assistance: It is critical to seek mental health treatment since a trained therapist is best equipped to assess your symptoms and determine the severity of your issue. Moreover, the knowledge and experience these professionals hold are critical for developing treatments.

 

Different approaches to treat depression: 

According to the Beyond Blue study, A guide to what works for depression, the following are the top six methods and therapies for depression’s indications and symptoms: 

  1. Behaviour Therapy 
  2. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 
  3. Interpersonal Therapy
  4. At-home or Online Therapy 
  5. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy 
  6. Antidepressant Drugs