The countrywide lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus infection has affected each and every individual in the country. For some, the impact is a toggle between low and moderate, while for others, it’s severe. Either way, the impact is still there. Needless to say, the lockdown is affecting our mental health. Being confined within the four walls of our houses is essential to keep ourselves safe, but it is equally imperative to ensure that in this endeavour, we don’t end up compromising on our mental health.
Behavioural issues due to this lockdown aren’t uncommon and this is why the Government of India has launched a helpline for anybody dealing with mental health issues at this time. However, even if you’re not suffering from any grave behavioural issues, the lockdown is still bringing in some unprecedented changes to your daily life—something that you weren’t prepared for. The good news is, in most of these scenarios, there’s something you can do to make it better.
Here are five ways the lockdown is affecting your daily life and what to do about it—
Your routine has gone for a toss
When there’s a list of things you need to do in a day, you end up having and following a routine for everything. Be it waking up in the morning, doing some workout, having breakfast, getting ready for work, so on and so forth. With a lockdown, most routines go for a toss because the systematic way things used to happen, seem to not happen anymore. Your maid’s on leave, you have to do your office work from home, do the chores, the cooking, etc. If you live with your family, you ought to look after their needs but the good thing is you do get some helping hand every now and then but if you live alone, well, you’re pretty much on your own.
What to do: Believe it or not, the human mind is pretty flexible. Although it takes a while to let go of your old routine, it doesn’t take long to create and adapt to a new one. During the weekend, sit with a pen and paper and list down your day-wise activities for the coming week. Create a timeline in sync with those activities and pledge to follow the same. Don’t forget to include some ‘me-time’ in it, wherein you can devote some time for things you like to do other than all the work you need to do.
Your office timings are no longer 9 to 5
Just like your typical routine, your office routine is also likely to suffer during this lockdown in case you have been asked to work remotely. It’s no longer about ‘not bringing any office work home’ because well, you are working from home. So, in all possibilities, your email inbox is flooding with too many emails and 5 PM is not the pack up time anymore, because it is expected from people to be ‘more available’ since now they are anyway working from the comfort of their homes and not commuting long distances either. In a nutshell, the lockdown impacts your work-life balance.
What to do: Even if you are working from home, it doesn’t change the primary protocol of abiding by your work timings. A change of place doesn’t mean a change of schedule. But make sure you are productive and deliver what’s assigned to you within the deadline. If there are some unreasonable demands made to you just because you don’t have to commute to work anymore and seem to have more time in your hands, be vocal about your need for work-life balance especially when you have too many personal tasks at hand as well.
You don’t know when will your plans turn into a living reality
Most of us swear by the ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ policy, which is a wonderful thing. However, the unceremonious lockdown and uncertainty of things have brought all the plans to a standstill. Be it your travel or financial investment—things would seem overwhelmingly iffy.
What to do: As much as the situation is uncertain, one thing you should never lose is hope. With the global economy being hit, it is natural to feel tense. But things will fall in place once this pandemic subsides. If you still feel you need to vent out or talk to an expert, you should indeed consult a psychologist online, who would be able to guide you through this time.
Your relationship is suffering
If your partner stays away from you and the lockdown has hindered you from meeting him or her—we feel you. If your partner stays with you, the lockdown may seem less frustrating but only until you both get tired of the sudden gush of responsibilities including domestic chores, being in a confined space, and feeling like you no longer have your own personal space that you always enjoyed.
What to do: Not able to see your partner for a long time can be disheartening, but the good news is it will only intensify your bond further and also strengthen your relationship. The longing, the care, the love, grow multifold when you get to see each other after a long time. So, hold on tight because when this is over, you both will come out stronger than before. As for the people belonging to the latter category, monotony does make one feel frustrated. But instead of looking at it from an angle of frustration, think of it as a time given to you and your partner to understand each other better, spend some quality time together, and take a break from the fast-paced life that had engulfed you for so long. Split the chores among each other and share the load. If one partner does the cooking, the other should do the dishes. Play some board games and watch some web series together. Rekindle your romance and take care of each other.
You’re concerned about your health and safety
With the lockdown in place and the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, it is obvious to feel scared for your health and safety as well as your ones’. Protecting yourself from COVID-19 by staying home is all right, but you wonder what to do about other health problems? Acute stomachache, health issues of your diabetic dad, or a sudden skin rash that just won’t go away—how do you go see a doctor when most hospitals are shut down and even if they aren’t, stepping out of the house isn’t really a wise thing at this point of time.
What to do: Fortunately, you can always consult doctors from the best hospitals online. Unless it’s an emergency that undeniably needs physical assessment, most health concerns can be resolved by a chat, audio, or video consultation with a doctor.
You don’t feel ‘fit’ anymore
Earlier, when everything used to be in place, you had a routine that included your daily fitness regime. Be it hitting the gym or going for a morning jog—that slot was imperative and now being confined within the four walls of your house, you feel like all you’re doing is just cooking, eating, thinking about when all this is going to be over, and sleeping. The unprecedented sedentary lifestyle makes you guilty but you feel like it is what it is.
What to do: All’s not lost! If fitness is truly your goal, you always have ways to ensure you achieve it. Yes, going to the gym or a morning jog outside isn’t possible now, but you can surely do a bunch of exercises at home, including a combination of low-impact and high-impact workout routines. From planks to burpees, skipping to lunges and pushups—you can always watch some home workout routines on the web and do them yourself. Most importantly, try to eat the right things at the right time. You can explore some recipes for beginners if you’re new to cooking and want to try some tasty yet healthy dishes or speak to a dietitian online if you need personalized diet plans.
Your mental health is getting affected
Freedom is precious. A lockdown makes you feel like somebody has taken away your freedom and there’s no way out. It’s like whatever you wish to do is just not possible now. Be it travelling, going out to meet some friends, watch a movie at the theatre, or simply go for a walk outside—everything seems like a far-fetched dream. Needless to say, you begin to harbour negative thoughts as the monotony clouds you and you slip further close to depression.
What to do: The good news is nothing lasts forever. Every time you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts, try to give yourself a gust of positivity. Be it by reading something nice or watching a funny show that makes you laugh hard. Talk to those who are close to you and send them some positive vibes too. Acknowledge the fact that you’re not alone in this and right at this moment, some people are going through far worse scenarios. Never consider your thoughts, no matter how negative, to be too petty and unreasonable to be overlooked and speak to an expert anytime you feel the need to.
If you made it till here and each point resonated with what’s going inside your mind right now, we hear you! It is also important that apart from taking care of ourselves, we take care of others around us as well. Social distancing might have separated us, but it should not stop us from helping others. Let’s take care of each other by forwarding a doctor to someone in need of medical help. India, khayal rakhna. We’re in this together and together, we shall win this battle.
Note: If you have any health concerns for yourself or your family, you can now speak to top doctors online on our platform. You can also take the free COVID-19 self-assessment to know your risk of contracting coronavirus infection. In case you’re experiencing symptoms like sore throat, cough, fever, or breathing difficulty, get your symptoms assessed by top doctors on your phone on the MFine app.