Covid-19: To beat isolation anxiety, imagine you’re on a vacay, say experts

Life is no more what it was a week ago. With little time to prepare for the current health crisis, many people are left feeling uncertain, many are shaken by the fast pace of current events, while others have been thrown into a state of panic and sleeplessness.

And all of this is normal to some degree, say experts in the city, assuring that there is a way out of this ordeal.

To help alleviate mental distress, the Government Medical College and Hospital Sector 32 has launched a 24×7 Covid-19 helpline number, wherein experts will be answering queries.

Dr Sandeep Grover, professor in psychiatry department of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, said the crisis was unprecedented but panicking will only make it worse. “The foremost thing is that we must maintain our cool and accept that there is no better solution than staying home,” he said.

Grover said the issue was that people are no more used to staying put at home. “But let’s take it from different perspective! Think that you are on vacation, but that instead of going out, you are staying back home. Explore your old hobbies, make a to-do list, prepare a schedule for yourself because this may carry on for a while and we should be mentally prepared to handle crisis,” he said.

The doctor said that people are not used to unplanned activities and for them entertainment only means stepping out of the house. It is this mindset that is being challenged, he said. One needs to learn to enjoy staying home and look at alternate sources of amusement and entertainment—playing with children, chatting with parents, cooking, household work and more, Grover said.

To those who are getting panic attacks, or their sleep is disturbed, the doctor has simple advice. “Stay busy. Engage in exercise, yoga, meditation, listen to music and do whatever it takes to calm you down,” he said.

Dr Preeti from GMCH-32 said, “News is a double-edged sword. Rely on authentic information and curtail the intake of news. Excessive intake of negative news may cause panic.”

Patients and their families are advised to take proper medication and keep themselves busy, sha said. “One can do breathing exercises to keep calm. Those who are home quarantined are physically isolated but not necessarily emotionally isolated as they can video-call near and dear ones,” said Dr Preeti.

Dr Grover also said, “Once the epidemic is over, we will see a flurry of cases at psychiatry OPDs. Those who are already suffering mental ailments should continue with medication and if need arises they can see their therapists.”

WHAT TO DO

Accept the situation, prepare your mind

Create a routine, learn something new, stay busy

Remember you are not emotionally isolated; chat on video calls with family and friends

Curtail intake of news, excessive negative news can cause panic

Chat, tell and listen to stories, play indoor games

Exercise and meditate

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