Experiencing quarantine as a result of a pandemic is something new for all of us. Besides the effects on our physical health and our economies, it can also end up with a severe impact on our mental health.
How to deal with this if we have kids? What if we were already depressed? Do we know how to handle the lockdown properly?
Dr. Elena Andrioti from Clear Minds Center gives us the information we need at this time.
THE INTERVIEW: DR ANDRIOTI
Those who are diagnosed with depression or hypersensitive, what is best to do?
Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression and are unable to cope with the covid-19 situation should seek help from mental health practitioners using a web or telemedicine software. There are many licensed psychologists in the UAE that are offering online consultations for clients who need support.
How can we notice that we are getting depressed? How to deal with it?
The signs of depression may include low and depressed mood, diminished interest in activities, changes in sleep or appetite, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, inability to concentrate and in some cases recurrent thoughts of death.
Depression symptoms vary in severity, of course, I would recommend seeking help from a mental health practitioner if you -or a loved one- are experiencing the symptoms listed above. There are various different ways to cope with depression symptoms that can differ from person to person. Again it depends on the severity of the depression symptoms. The best course of action is to get recommendations from a specialist in the field.
There are some coping mechanisms that have been shown to help individuals including yoga, meditation, exercise, breathing techniques, engaging in certain hobbies – but again this may all differ on a case by case basis.
- Maintaining a daily routine similar to their lives before the quarantine (healthy sleep and eating schedules).
- Home exercise.
- Finding new hobbies that they can exercise at home on a daily basis (painting, cooking, reading).
- Connecting with friends and family using web conferences, social media pages, etc.
- Taking the time to rest.
- Yoga and meditation from the comfort of your own home (there are many videos available online).
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
How we can deal with quarantine if we live alone?
Loneliness during quarantine is almost inevitable whether or not we live alone. Some of us may have to be quarantined in an isolated room to protect family members. Others may live alone and therefore have to spend some time alone during the quarantine period. Loneliness can have a big impact on our overall well-being and health. To all of the individuals who are quarantined alone, I would recommend:
How we can deal with a quarantine time if we live with our family?
Quarantine time with a family can be comforting and overwhelming at the same time.
From parents who are trying to work from home, kids who need to receive online / distance learning and simply everyone being constricted in one space all while trying to get things done can be challenging.
In my opinion, the best thing to do is to be organized throughout and create schedules that will benefit the entire family and that will include time for children’s distance-learning, time for parents to get their work done (parents can take turns in supporting their children while giving their partner some time to reach their daily work goals). I would also recommend families make the best out of this time together by scheduling in some time to do things together like playing board games, cooking, watching movies or simply talking and catching up!
TELL THE KIDS
Do you recommend we explain the situation to the kids? How can we deal with them all this time?
Yes definitely. I recommend that parents discuss the covid-19 outbreak with their children. Children need to be reassured and even at young ages, they can notice that something is going on. Open communication is key here. Of course, there are various different methods that can be used to discuss the topic with children and it depends on the age of the child.
I think that this is an opportunity for all parents to spend some quality time with their children and make the best out of the situation by simply connecting as a family and creating fun activities for everyone.
If someone is not used to homework, to be locked it can be really hard. How this should be managed? What tips can we give them?
I understand that this can be a very challenging time for some of us. Being locked in can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is to make use of this time as much as we possibly can. Maintaining a healthy routine (food and sleep) is very important. Exercising on a daily basis will help as well. Being in contact (virtually of course) with colleagues can be helpful as well.
All-in-all it’s important to keep the same routine we originally had before the lockdown.
It is of significant importance for us all to comply with the stay at home recommendations and things will eventually get better once we all play in our part to do our social responsibility.
HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS & FIGHTS
For those who are married, it can be a hard time. How to manage a fight? What things should we avoid to deal with this situation?
It is normal for us all to be a little stressed during this period. I think that the best way to manage that is to be supportive of our loved ones and understanding of course. Try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and be empathic and compassionate throughout. Maintain open communication between both of you. Make the best of the extra time together by spending some quality time, playing games, doing things together around the house but also make sure to give each other some time alone to reflect on certain things and get a few things done.
For those who are used to homework, how healthy is to keep working? Do they need to change any of their routines?
Of course, it is important to keep on working and doing the things we typically do on a daily basis. Our routines need a few tweaks here and there because there are certain things that we cannot do anymore but we can try to find alternatives to get things done.
Once the quarantine is over, what we should do?
I would say the best thing to do is to wait for recommendations from government authorities and medical practitioners to start resuming our lives normally.
What happens if the quarantine goes a little longer than scheduled? How can we deal with the extra time of this situation?
The same way we are currently dealing with it now. Maintaining a healthy schedule. Eating well. Drinking enough. Getting things done around the house. Spending quality time with loved ones. Contacting loves ones that live outside of the UAE. Reaching our work goals. Exercising. Sleeping well and of course, complying with our social responsibility so we can fight this off together as a community.
IF YOU FEEL TOO ANXIOUS..
What can we do if we have an anxiety attack?
There are various different methods we can use to cope with our anxiety during this challenging time. From breathing techniques to meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or engaging in activities that make individuals feel better.
The most important thing is to detect the symptoms of a panic attack. I will list them below:
- Pounding heart
- Accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Feelings of choking
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Chills or heat sensations
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of dying
If you are experiencing these symptoms. You could be experiencing a panic attack, please get help from a mental health practitioner. Teleconsultations are available.
SOCIAL MEDIA: FRIEND OR FOE?
How healthy is it to keep checking social media on this situation?
Well, it definitely depends on the sources that we are checking and, on the time spent doing so. We all want to know what is going on and social media plays an important role. It gives us information and connects ut to people all around the world. So just make sure your sources are reliable and read up on covid-19 if that is what you want to.
If checking social media triggers a lot of stress and anxiety for a particular person then I would definitely recommend minimizing the time spent on social media and instead of getting the information from someone reliable and coping with our individual stress.
When social media becomes a stressor or trigger leading to anxiety, then it becomes more of a nuisance than an enjoyable activity and should be minimized so we can focus on our mental health.
Is there anything we should avoid towards keeping our mental health during this situation?
I think the best way to answer this question is by saying that the best thing we can do during this overwhelming period is to try our best to be optimistic and to take care of ourselves and our family members.
If you want to contact Dr. Andrioti please visit her website: https://drelenaandrioti.com/
Find her on any social media as @drelenaandrioti
Special thanks to Clear Minds Center, to reach them please visit their website: www.clearmindscenter.com
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