The outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 made the world go Topsy-turfy. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-Cov-2) is the cause of the disease. The disease not only brought severity in health conditions but also socioeconomic crisis and profound distress worldwide. Covid-19 presented an exceptional challenge to human fitness. However, there are always two sides to the same coin. These dramatic alterations somehow decreased instances of other medical situations. Below, we have listed the consequences of the coronavirus disease on our mental health.
The Michelangelo effect and other positive influences
Amidst the long ‘tail’ of mental health challenges due to Covid-19, it becomes necessary to recognize its positive takeaways. We witnessed our potentials to be sane in such high-stress levels.
According to experts, the lock-down had turbo-charged a phenomenon known as “The Michelangelo Effect”. It signifies that we shape ourselves the way we want if we are with a romantic partner. A partner who supports us with our aspirations. Due to the lock-down, many couples got time for each other which boosted the phenomenon. It has helped many individuals become positive about life.
Studies show that we reflected our physical environment more thoughtfully in the pandemic. The psychologist Wiebke Bleidorn, University of California, said that this reflective time leads to increased ‘self-concept clarity’. It is the extent to which people have coherent assumptions about themselves and their objectives in life. Also, there is a positive message from the broader scientific literature. It suggests that people are adaptive. Their conscientiousness increases when a demanding role is required. Also, their traits rebound positively.
Neuroticism and PTSD
Covid-19 has no doubt asserted to be a cruel syndrome. It is because of its devastating physical health effects along with engendering negative mental health effects. Furthermore, it gives rise to high levels of anxiety, depression along with feelings of loneliness. Though social isolation is conceptually different from loneliness, both are intertwined.
The people who score high for neuroticism struggled a lot in the pandemic. Neuroticism is a peculiarity associated with an inclination towards negative emotions. They include irritability, anxiety, vulnerability, and sadness. Also, these conditions caused a forced reduction in extroversion. Many people don’t feel the need to socialize because of being in isolation for months. Approximately 41 percent of the respondents felt too exhausted to connect with their loved ones.
This critical consequence is terrible, especially for the elderly and people with compromised health conditions. Isolation and social distancing play a major role in curbing the spread of Covid-19. But they are intrinsic links to adverse psychological effects. The World Health Organization had previously notified its growing concerns on social disconnection becoming a global health crisis. The pandemic certainly brought ignored mental health into the light.
People who have always been socially active find it difficult to reside in their home. Also, persons who only had friends who checked up on them felt anxious. People developed PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) during the pandemic, or it worsened in those who already have it. PTSD is a condition that can develop after psychological trauma. Almost 32 percent of Americans were suffering from PTSD, during the lock-down period. Healthcare workers and patients were the most affected. The healthcare workers witnessed deaths, supply shortages, and increased illnesses. The patients experienced fear for survival, physical discomfort, and social isolation.
Stress and indoor living
The pandemic provided this amazing opportunity to us – Lock-down. It helped some people to cope up with their bipolar disorders. They got a break from the rush of life and helped them calm down. Indoor living helped some people to balance work and life. This halt allowed taking one’s own pace in life relieving work-related stress. A break from the rapidly moving life helped us to be sane. It is because the comfortable home environment helps to relax the brain.
A report suggested that people were able to plan their schedule as per their time convenience. And, it lessened their stress. People with chronic stress due to work benefited the most. Also, this lock-down helped in building a better future for work as well as family. Many practitioners suggest people with mental illness to pursue their hobbies. The lock-down provided an ample amount of time for it. The Covid-19 situation had a positive impact on how we emote and maintain family relationships. For every low, there is a high. Even this situation has a silver lining to it.
Irritability and anxiety
A survey found out that lockdown increased the levels of irritability and anxiety in people. The pandemic changed every facet of normality. It affected the mental health of people to a considerable degree. Many practitioners tried to understand it with the help of the ‘change curve’. Statistics show that 36.28 percent of people felt anxious, and 36.59 percent of respondents felt irritated on a maximum of days. Only 8 percent of people felt calm, and 18 percent did not notice any mood changes.
The main suggested reason for such behavioral responses is quite simple. the whole community has lost its sense of entitlement. They have been restricted, to do what they want to. There is anticipatory grief all around. Also, feelings of uncertainty contributed to the cause. Short bursts of anxiety are considered fine. But if they linger for a long time, it leads to chronic stress. Practitioners say that yoga and exercise are helpful. They bring a state of calmness as they are good self-soothers.
So as we can see, there are two sides to the same coin. If coronavirus had negative impacts, it also had positive takeaways on people’s mental health. It varied from person to person depending on how they perceived the situation. And their sensitivity to certain aspects of living. Covid-19 has unquestionably altered our lives. There are short-term and long-term effects. One of the best ways to confront the situation is by doing self-care. Keep finding ways to keep ourselves sane and free from uncertainty.