Pandemics accentuates or creates stressors among youth like
• Fear and worry for oneself or loved ones,
• Constraints on physical movement and social activities due to quarantine
• Sudden and radical lifestyle changes.
• Affected students’ motivation, concentration, and social interactions.
Core Challenges among Students during Pandemic
• Concerns for One’s Own Health and the Health of Loved Ones.
• Difficulty in concentration.
• Disruption to Sleep Patterns.
• Increased Social Isolation.
• Concerns about Academic Performance.
• Disruptions to Eating Patterns.
• Changes in the Living Environment.
• Financial Difficulties.
• Increased Class Workload.
• Depressive Thoughts.
• Suicidal Thoughts.
How to cope
• Breathing exercises.
• Meditation is simple, free, and only takes a few minutes! It can promote relaxation, decrease negative emotions, build skills to manage stress, and increase tolerance.
• Eat Healthy Foods and Maintain Regular Meal Patterns.
• Be sure to stick to your regular sleep pattern and get enough sleep. Schedule a normal bedtime and wake time during the week. Evidence suggests that people who sleep less have more mental and physical health problems. Getting a full night of sleep (7-9 hours for adults) can improve learning, memory, mood, and heart health, as well as keep your immune system strong.
• It is important to stay active, even if you are currently staying home. Exercise can significantly improve both your physical and mental health!
• Take your mind off your immediate problems and try something new!
• Try a new art project,It has been especially shown that trying a hobby reduce stress, improve creativity, decrease anxiety and depression, promote relaxation, and prevent cognitive decline.
• Spend time by playing with family on board games, antakshari, other indoor games, music and crafts.
• Learning can be fun: Creative thinking can go beyond the academic learning by participating in household chores, supporting younger siblings and parents.
• Interactive Online classes: Support teachers in participating actively in online classes which will go a long way for enriching the utility and productivity of these times.
• Evidence shows that practicing mindfulness in our day to day lives can significantly increase our capacity to cope with traumatic events, improve control over our emotional states and reduce anxiety and stress related symptoms.
• Prioritize self-care: In these times of uncertainty, focus on what you can control and take care of yourself to stay healthy
• Limit News Consumption to Trusted Sources : It is important to obtain accurate and timely public health information.
• But too much exposure to media coverage
• Most of us are anxious to share information on social media. It is tempting to forward messages with a click of a finger. But false and misleading information may have serious consequences for our lives.
• It leads to fear, anger, inaction, bigotry or even worse.
• You can be more mindful about your use of social media and still enjoy staying in touch with friends and family members.
• THINK twice before posting or sharing on social media. Ask yourself:
• Pay attention to:
• Is the source identified? Can you judge for yourself if it’s reliable? How do you know it is reliable? Is the source a government official, a credible medical or scientific organization or another news report?
• Be wary of images that aren’t credited and images lacking context, and those clearly doctored. Ask yourself if this is from a trustworthy source.
• Modern editing technology has made it easy for people to create fake images that look professional and real. In fact, research shows that only half of us can tell when images are fake. However, there are some warning signs you can look out for: strange shadows on the image, for example, or jagged edges around a figure.
• Be Generous and Kind to Others ‘Generosity can help us develop a sense of community and ensure that everyone has equal access to resources.We worry about shortages and hoard essential items like food and medicines which may end up causing shortages. While it is important to stock up on food and other essentials, please think of others too who may need these items.
Dr Abdul Majid
HOD Psychiatry, SKIMS Medical College Srinagar