The Corona pandemic is a difficult period for many. The changed everyday life can affect well-being and mental health.

Anxiety about the risk of infection, along with isolation and distance, can lead to loneliness and symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

The corona pandemic wears on the psyche of many-from the young people who miss the parties with friends, to the lonely elderly people who feel extra alone when corona restrictions lead to cancellation of activities and events on a strip.

Loneliness fills a lot – especially for those that their social circle are people out in the city. It also affects people who normally invest a lot socially in their jobs, but now sit alone at home.

The disease also causes concern in many people: some fear being infected or infecting others with corona. Others stress that the pandemic does not have a known expiration date, with ’everything’ becoming normal again. Financial problems triggered by corona can also knock people off their feet.

It is natural to have worries during periods of pressure. There are many who feel the same way. In some, it can develop and go extra hard on the mental well-being.

Focus on hygiene-when is it enough?

Currently, great attention is paid to hygiene and other precautions against corona. For some, it can lead to compulsions, constantly washing hands and using hand alcohol, avoiding many everyday situations for fear of being infected or infecting others.

A rule of thumb for the boundary between the normal and the morbid is usually around one hour of daily activity with, for example, hand washing and hygiene. However, the limits of what is normal to do have shifted during the corona pandemic. What used to be considered morbid is normal now. It can go beyond common sense if one is unsure when enough is enough.

At the same time, there are several examples of suspicion and shame from self-appointed 'corona police officers' who mock others. It is very visible if you use facemasks and rubbing alcohol and keep your distance. But that does not mean that there is free rein to attack how other people behave.

Fear of being shamed

The fear of being shamed can lead to anxiety, loneliness and excessive attention to hygiene.

Some people become ashamed and do not feel that they have taken proper care if they are hit by corona. But it is unreasonable to blame yourself or others, because it is a highly contagious virus that can affect everyone.

Fortunately, the pandemic has also brought out good sides in us: The helpfulness is great-to the delight of those who are helped, but also of those who help others. By supporting and helping others, one accomplishes something and makes a difference, and this can give a good sense of meaning and purpose in a difficult time.

Mentally ill are extra vulnerable

People with mental disorders are generally more severely affected by the consequences of the corona pandemic and may feel extra lonely and sad. Many are, for example, expats and foreign students that already have difficulty establishing relationships due to the language barrier. The corona restrictions make it extra difficult to break the loneliness, and some have to do it without visiting their permanent residences.

 The fear of being infected with corona or infecting others can be debilitating. Obsessive-compulsive disorders such as OCD with excessive hand washing and alcohol spraying can flare up during pandemics such as corona.

 If you experience a worsening of your illness or become depressed, contact your doctor or your regular therapist/contact person.

12 tips to maintain the mental stability in corona everyday life

Healthy habits can help you keep worries and reproaches at a distance.

  1. Keep in touch with the outside world. Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. are of great importance to our mental health because they help to give us a sense of belonging with others. Keep up with each other's lives over the phone, video calls or on social media.
  1. Pressure yourself to contact others if you feel lonely. Move your limit to what feels natural and send more text messages. Move social interaction into other surroundings if it is not possible to meet physically. Maybe you can meet online instead.
  1. Talk about your corona challenges with others. Use family and friends to reconcile whether the pandemic takes up too much space in your life or the lives of others. But remember to talk about other things as well. Use each other to take a break from the worries.
  1. You can introduce a 'worry time' if concerns about the corona are grinding around your head. Here you can let go of the thoughts - e.g. Friday between 15 and 16. If the worries appear at other times, you can reject them, because they already have a place in your calendar.
  1. It's o.k. feeling sad or angry about what you lost during the corona pandemic - whether it's just a party or a vacation trip. Give way to the frustrations, but also remember the positive things. For example, write down at least one thing every night that you are grateful for – no matter how big or small it may be.
  1. Do not blame yourself or others for getting infected with corona. The disease is caused not by people, but by a highly contagious virus that can affect everyone. 
  1. Create structure in everyday life. Feel free to make a plan or schedule of activities for the day or week. Introduce routines that mark the course of the day. If you work at home, work when you have to work, and take time off when you have time off.
  1. Sleep adequately and maintain a normal, regular circadian rhythm. If have slept well, you are less likely to worry and be anxious.
  1. Eat healthy and varied. It provides energy and strength for everyday challenges-and room for a little pampering once in a while.
  1. Stay physically active. It does not have to be strenuous – bike rides and walks also count. Daylight lifts your spirits. Come outside and move and get some fresh air daily.
  1. Keep your brain going by doing various kinds of activities that require your concentration. Read a book or magazine, solve sudoku, puzzles, listen to music, play some games-or something completely different.
  1. Talk to your doctor if anxiety about getting sick or related worries control your daily life and may also affect your surroundings. This applies, for example, if you are overly concerned with information about the disease or wash your hands all the time.
Dra. Gloria Baquero
Division of Medicine
Dra. Gloria Baquero
Adults and people of advanced age
Languages: English, Danish and Spanish
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