Once you’ve made your peace with the physical and financial impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, there remains one more serious issue to contend with – Your emotional well-being.
From being worried about catching the dreaded Coronavirus, and being anxious about personal finances, to spending weeks, and possibly months in isolation – These trying times are bound to take a toll on our mental health.
The Souqalmal.com team shares personal stories from our readers, that help shed light on some of the most worrying psychological effects of the lockdown.
“Work-related stress is giving me sleepless nights”
We live in strange times where some people are facing lay-offs or reduced salaries, while many others are being overworked. Sreenath, a Sharjah-based Indian expat shares his worries over the threat of unemployment, “I work in sales, and have already seen all my income from commissions disappear. I’m surviving on a basic fixed income, and have stopped sending money back home. If the pandemic and lockdown go on for much longer, I may end up without a job. Being the sole breadwinner in my family, that’s what scares me the most.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Mohammed, an expat living in Abu Dhabi, who works as an online merchandiser for an e-commerce company. He says, “Although I’m working from home, I’m working round the clock. Having young kids in a small apartment means I’m often distracted too. With demand for my company’s services rising, I feel fortunate to have a stable job in a sector that is well-equipped to weather this storm. But that also means that I’m over-worked, exhausted and barely able to take a break from work.”
“Homeschooling has left me exhausted and irritable”
Remember the first week of homeschooling when you were mildly optimistic and completely sane? Well, those days are gone! Parents across the country are definitely going to relate with Sara’s story.
Sara, a mum of two, has a packed daily schedule and homeschooling is taking the joy out of her life. She says “I feel like my kids are mini-CEOs and I’m their administrative assistant. I’m constantly scheduling their Zoom calls for e-learning, proofreading their assignments, and making sure they don’t fall behind their academic curriculum. Doing all this while ensuring that they eat, exercise and stay entertained is a big challenge. And the fact that I have a job and have to work from home, is seriously enough to send me over the edge.”
“I have debts and I’m worried about money”
Dave, a Brit expat, just closed a mortgage and bought a house in Dubai two months back. He expresses his worries over the the financial ramifications of the lockdown, “I have a mortgage, but I’m not sure if I’ll have a job if things don’t start looking up. As a new homeowner who should be enjoying his new home, I’m worried instead about being unable to afford mortgage payments in the future.”
He also talks about how he’s counting on the relief measures from his bank in case his personal circumstances take a turn for the worse, “The only fact keeping my anxiety at bay is the financial support being offered by banks in the country. The provision of postponing principal and interest payments for up to three months, gives borrowers like myself some much-needed financial wiggle room.”
“I’m a new mum, and my anxiety levels are off the charts!”
Sophia, a Dubai-based expat gave birth to a baby girl two weeks back. She shares her story here – “Being a first-time mum, I was looking forward to having my mother visit us, to help me through the first few weeks. But of course, the lockdown made that impossible. And now, it’s not only exhausting to care for a newborn, but my anxiety levels are at their peak too. With limited doctor’s appointments, worrying about my daughter’s non-existent immunity amid this outbreak, and getting baby supplies delivered on time, I’m having a hard time coping.”
But there’s been an upside to all of this too, she adds, “My husband’s working from home, so there’s another pair of hands available to help with the baby. And the slow pace of life right now, coupled with the fact that we don’t have any visitors coming to meet our newborn, has worked in our favor too.”
How to deal with anxiety during lockdown…
Stay virtually connected with family & friends – Beat the isolation blues by staying in touch with your loved ones through video chats and Zoom calls.
Struggling to cope? Reach out for help – Whether it’s reaching out to your closest support system if you feel like you’re down in the dumps, or consulting a psychologist over a virtual therapy session, make sure you get the help you need, when you need it.
Cut back on your news intake – You obviously want to stay updated with what’s happening in the world right now, but you also need a break from the unending news coverage.
Follow a routine that’s similar to your pre-quarantine days – There’s nothing like a routine and some discipline to bring a sense of normalcy to your life at home. Sticking to a normal routine won’t just keep you active, it’ll also help you readapt to the outside world when this pandemic is over.
And finally, look at the bright side – Things may be bad, but make sure you see the silver lining amid the chaos. You get to focus on yourself, spend more time with the kids, and be thankful that you have a home to self-isolate in, unlike many other less-fortunate people around the world.