Covid 19 has been with us for the better part of 2 years. In that time we have seen a record number of people experiencing more depression than ever before.
More people seem to be breaking up and everyone seems to be more miserable than normal. This has led many to ask; why does it seem that covid-19 led to people feeling depressed? having anxiety or has had an over negative effect on their mental health?
Pandemics are not new but they are new to a lot of people. It forces us to act in ways that are counter to our nature whether that be self isolation or social distancing. Let’s discuss some ways that coronavirus has affected our collective mental healths.
Why lockdowns can lead to covid-19 depression
Coronavirus lockdowns have become a bit of a routine nowadays. Corona has led to many people feeling depressed because other than the wearing of masks we have to maintain social distance.
Humans as a species crave connection. When you take this away it affects us mentally. Even in the Bible when it speaks about God creating Adam. God had made animals in pairs and had brought them to Adam to name. When he saw that adam was alone he saw that this was not good for him. From the very beginning, we were never meant to be alone. Fast forward to corona and not only are people alone, but they also get negativity in the form of news every day.
Whether it is statistics on the number of coronavirus deaths or the number of persons hospitalized. This constant stream of negativity creates fear and anxiety in the mind. Anxiety leads to depression when you realize you can’t even hug someone without the fear of dying. Covid 19 and depression is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.
Staying isolated for fear of corona is one of the biggest contributors to depression in this pandemic. Many people, don’t fear the virus as much as they fear losing someone from the virus by being the one to spread it to them. All because you want to be close to them. It’s quite a dilemma.
Social distancing, Covid 19 and depression
Humans are social creatures. When there is a mandate for people to social distance it has a negative mental effect. This is why solitary confinement is one of the cruelest punishments ever for a Prisoner. The prisoners will resist at first but eventually, they succumb to the withdrawal of human connection. The mind begins to unravel and some get mad from the isolation.
Social distancing is important in the fight against covid. That said stay close to your loved ones by constant video calls or even playing virtual games. Laugh with each other and revel in the beauty of living to see another day.
Covid-19 and fear
Fear is both a negative and positive emotion. Negative in the sense that if you allow it to rule your life you will end up being fearful of doing many things and experience deep regret.
On the positive side fear is the body’s warning system, it is the system that early man relied on for survival. A healthy dose of fear is essential in life so that we don’t do anything reckless. Imagine having no fear and jumping into the street into moving traffic.
Imagine no fear of consequences for your actions? Whether its cheating on your spouse or dealing drugs. These may sound random but can be linked back to fear. Many people fear the consequences of stealing. This is because even though they could get away with it, they cannot escape one person who would always know. That person is themselves.
So fear can be both good for you and bad for you. Now, what happens when you are under constant fear? It has a negative impact on your mind and your body.
Constant fear from covid has led many people to develop anxiety and stress issues. People report feeling more stressed. The solution is to stop feeding the fear. Imagine fear as a small wolf in the corner, the more you feed the wolf the more it grows and the more ferocious it becomes. Rather you should have a healthy relationship with the wolf feed it occasionally as it is essential to have some amount of fear.
Fearing losing someone can actually draw you closer to them for example. Turn off your news notifications as these are feeding your fear. What does a bombing in Baghdad have to do with you? can you do anything about the volcano that erupted and swallowed up a whole village? or what about a plane crash that happens suddenly?
As human beings, we are naturally empathetic. What happens when we hear these news stories is that it makes us fearful we ask “what if this happened to my family”. We also wonder subconsciously what could we do for the victims. Don’t get me wrong it is good to know what’s going on in the news. That is different however from having notifications every 10 seconds. It bears on your psyche. It is like tiny invisible knives hitting your brain over and over again.
You have to put up a shield for your mind. Shield it from fear and despair.
Covid and mental health
Mental health seems to have become a hot-button topic within this time. Especially with lockdowns causing people to isolate themselves. What covid has taught us is that focusing on just physical health is not enough. Yes, it is good to get your daily workout but like the greeks, we all should aim for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
The greeks brought us many wise philosophers from the likes of Socrates to Plato to Aristotle. Almost all of which are still well known to this day. They have become ingrained into the social fabric of our time even though they lived thousands of years ago.
Your mind is the engine that drives the body and is the true factor in determining where a person will end up in life. Guarding your mental health and feeding your mind with positive mantras should be as important to you as lifting weights in the gym.
Now if your mind is the engine then that would make whatever you put into your mind fuel. You would never have a Ferrari and put kerosene as fuel in the car. That would be ridiculous, similarly, you could not have an airplane and fuel it with regular gas.
Your mind is power but it is only as strong as you let it. Coronavirus has left many people feeling dejected when they are in full control of what they put in their minds. If you find yourself feeling down during this pandemic. Remove anything that makes you have a negative thought in relation to the pandemic. Only focus on positive thoughts during this time.
You may have lost your job but ask yourself what is the upside to this? You may have more time on your hands. This may be a time to pivot, try new things, and maybe even build something like a business that will be better for you in the long run.
It could be that this change could be a good thing. We see it with many people instead of being fired actually quitting their jobs. They finally looked at what they were giving in time and mental capacity and figured that it wasn’t worth the printed paper they were getting.
Quitting may seem like a losing mantra to sum but it is important to know when to quit. Don’t just adopt the mentality of “winners never quit”. We don’t need studies to show that grinding at something that is not fulfilling, is not good for your mental health.
The problem with doing work that is not fulfilling is that when you add the combination of coronavirus, it can lead to covid 19 and depression.
Learn to reflect. Reflecting can help you determine if your life is going in the path that you want it to go. Always remember that life is a journey and not a destination. So focus more on the going and less on arriving.
You may find that you have unrealistic expectations of your destination. You may find that your goal did not give you the feeling you thought it would.
This is why taking life day by day should be your aim. Plan for the future but at the same time live in the now. Because the future does not yet exist, the past is gone but the present is where it’s at.
Covid 19 can lead to poor mental health only if you let it. Although it is important to be socially distant, that doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated. Go outside and feel the sunshine on your skin, take off your mask and take a long deep breath feel the wind on your face.
Did you know that vitamin D that you get from the sun helps to protect your body from viruses? Did you also know that is proven that sunlight helps to fight depression? We are creatures of light, not the night so get as much sunlight and fresh air as you can.
So what are your thoughts on this article did you learn anything? In what ways has covid 19 affected your health? also what do you do to fight off the negative mental effects of coronavirus? What are your thoughts on covid 19 and depression? Share in the comments below we would love to hear from you.