It’s a Pandemic!
“Good afternoon. In the past two weeks, COVID-19 cases outside China have increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. We have, therefore, assessed that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.“
These were the words of the WHO Director-General on March 11th, 2020, where he declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
The pandemic declaration of the world apex health body, W.H.O, has led many governments to place different restrictions in their countries to prevent the spread of infectious disease. These restrictions include the interstate travel ban, the closure of markets, schools, sporting centers, religious centers, corporate organizations, and general movement restrictions.
These preventive restrictions can be described by one word: lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown has helped contain the spread of the viral infection in almost every clime. However, no one expected the lockdown to last for many weeks or a couple of months.
Psychological Effects of the Lockdown
Many governments worldwide are beginning to ease their lockdown measures to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic amidst an apparent surge in the number of new cases and deaths. Still yet, many persons are already suffering from varying degrees of mental and physiological disorders sustained during the initial lockdown weeks.
Many persons are anxious about the future and the uncertainties of the post-lockdown era. Can anyone think about life after lockdown and the changes it will bring without feeling anxious? I doubt! Nothing fuels our feelings of anxiety-like the certainty in our minds that the pandemic will be over someday.
Anxiety Induced Procrastination
One of the main problems of this widespread feeling of fear is undue Procrastination. However, Procrastination has become the new escape route or inescapable curse of lockdown anxiety.
A lot of persons are uncertain and confused about the future. This uncertainty and confusion have made them put off things they can do now. This set of people is filled with negative thoughts about the future and prefers to be sure about it before taking any action. Some other persons are also very optimistic and positive about the future. Yet they procrastinate and put off the things they ought to do now. These persons find psychological relief from these positive feelings and prefer to hang on them than take any action to make it away from them.
Both spectrum of the population procrastinate for different reasons, but they all respond to the same trigger: anxiety.
Why Did You Put Off Things During the Lockdown?
Procrastination is part of our everyday lives. Everyone has habits of putting off the things we don’t feel like doing. However, it is different when we put things off because we are uncertain—we are anxious about our efforts or actions. This kind of Procrastination is what the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is bringing to our lives. Let me ask the question that opens this paragraph again: has lockdown made you put things off? Maybe yes, maybe soon!
How Can We Overcome this Lockdown Anxiety Induced Procrastination?
Do these five things to stay above the anxiety and procrastination tide? These five counsels will also improve your mental health:
Re-Organize Your Space A chaotic environment will often lead to a disordered mind. Your inner space or home has become your predominant world now. It will influence you more than the uncertainties of the future and the thoughts of what happens outside. Try to keep it tidy. Try to put everything in their rightful place and do everything in their proper place. For example, try to eat on the dining or kitchen table instead of eating on your bed or sofa.
1. Develop A New Routine Schedule
The lockdown has taken away our routines. It’s no longer 9-5 across the street. It’s now 24/7 within our homes. You need to create a new habit around the things you can do at home to reduce your day’s length and the risk of anxiety. Draw up a new timetable. You can take free online courses, read books, do mild home workouts, try new recipes, and watch new movies. Adapt to the new normal, and develop a custom routine for yourself.
2. Tune out of the News
Information overload is one of the significant causes of anxiety in this period of lockdown. Many persons now have time to sit in front of their television and watch all the news update. We now have time to see what is trending on our social media feeds. Everyone is being fed with more information than usual, and the media had been filled with more bad news than good. You need to tune out of the story on all media platforms. Watch movies! Watch sporting and cultural events! You can decide to listen to the last news of the day. Don’t expose yourself to too many updates.
3. Recollect Procrastinated Tasks and Do Them
Do you remember those things you want to do that you never had time to do? I mean the stuff you often put off till free weekends and holidays. You now have enough time to do them. It may be bonding with your family, finishing a course, learning a musical instrument, etc. You currently have time to do the things you put off before now.
4. Change Your Words
What you say is more powerful than what others say. Instead of saying, “I’m stuck here. When will I ever close that deal?’ Tell yourself, “I now have time to focus on my boys.” Change your words from what you can’t do and focus them on your new routine and goals.
Government Role in the Early Post-lockdown Era
The government also needs to help people overcome their anxiety by giving the message of hope and truth. If we say, “People can now move around.” We should be able to provide them with details of how this should be. Can they hug others? Can they eat together? Will the restaurants be opened? Clarity will reduce the anxiety threshold in the general population.
Lockdown is a potent countermeasure against the spread of COVID-19. However, it has some psychological effects that result in long term mental disorders. Educating people on managing their mental health during this period should be a priority for every government in the world. Psychologists and psychiatric therapists should be allowed to see their clients. We also encourage people to speak out if they can’t manage their anxiety or depression.
If you feel that your civil and human rights have been abused? A human rights solicitor should be able to tell you quickly whether they can help you with your case and if they can represent you.