The world is living with a pandemic right now. The governments are taking strict action for protecting public health. There are restrictive rules regarding social and civil activities. The police force has been employed to keep a check on whether the restrictive rules are being followed. Many people have been arrested for breaking those rules led by the government. Not all people have equal access to health services during this epidemic outbreak; this is probably the most stressful time we are seeing in our lives. This article aims to ease out this mental unrest and relieve all readers by suggesting how to deal with the present circumstances.
Infectious diseases that impact populations at a large scale simultaneously, so fast that the spread can’t be controlled, are called epidemics (or epidemic diseases). When an epidemic spreads to other continents, it is called a pandemic. The history of such diseases is as old as that of human civilization. Evidence of some epidemic diseases has been found even in the oldest Egyptian mummies. Increased stress is a contributing factor to the spread of an epidemic/ pandemic disease. The rate of spread of a disease depends on its mode of transmission i.e. what carries the disease from one person to another, for example an insect, water, body waste, respiratory droplets, blood, etc.; and the source of its outbreak i.e. whether or not the disease can spread from person to person. Most fatal diseases are caused by viruses.
What is so stressful about Covid?
Covid-19 is the most recent pandemic we are seeing. Although the late 2010s HIV outbreak is not over yet, and millions of people are still living with it; it still wasn’t tackled as strictly as Covid is. The reason is that mode of transmission of a disease is a decisive factor in the strictness required for implementation of preventive measures. The mode of transmission of the current pandemic is respiratory droplet. It means that the droplets of fluid that can be found anywhere in our nose and the nasal sinuses, the mouth, the throat, and until the farthest areas of the lungs, can catch, house and transmit the new coronavirus. It can then spread to the digestive system and the bloodstream, and cause death after failure of various organ systems.
Since the disease is highly contagious and fatal, and countless deaths have occurred round the globe, the government authorities had to impose strict rules prohibiting social gatherings and public activities. Such restrictions that are not eased for more than a year, and prohibit travel, school, college, work, shopping, weddings, parties, and all activities that were thought to be recreational and ‘fun’; were never seen and experienced by people at global level. This is making them even more stressed about the ‘novel’ disease that’s killing people even without any symptoms.
By the time the world came to know of the outbreak of this pandemic, it had become so much populated and fond of gatherings, travel, etc. that it came as a shock for and shattered the youngsters especially. Also, another factor that makes the current situation so stressful is that we are all sitting at home and continuously watching repeated news of deaths and disasters all over the world. The economical conditions of nations are declining and it is as bad at the global level as at the individual level of people whose workplaces have shut down.
The Mental Factor is as Important
The current pandemic is not just a viral outbreak – it is a global ‘mental’ outbreak. With the financial decline impacting businessmen and labourers alike, there is no class or community that is in a relaxed state of mind right now. The middle-class families where the trend of children dropping academic years is not acceptable are stressed about their children who are in the secondary or senior secondary classes this year. Families that relied on a daily income and whose businesses don’t fall in the ‘essential services’ category, are afraid they will starve to death. Families, whose head members are abroad and not visiting due to travel restrictions, are financially stable but emotionally unstable. Farmers that are not great land-owners in India are struggling. The labour class that used to work in other states has nowhere to go. Parents, whose children are working or studying abroad, are afraid they may not be able to meet them again. Pregnant women, newborns during the last year and the elderly are afraid to seek medical care, due to hospitals flooded with Covid cases.
The whole world is mentally upset. But we must not forget that stress makes nothing better. In fact, stress is actually a contributor towards the worsened effects of any disease, especially epidemics. The mind plays a great role in increasing or decreasing the effect of any infection or a medication. The mental factor of health and disease is as important as the physical and social ones.
What Can We Do?
Relax. It may seem impossible, but we will have to accept that we are helpless in controlling the world, but we have complete control of our mind and our own health. We must take all necessary precautions and follow all guidelines, and above all, trust the process. We should trust that by wearing a mask, staying a healthy distance away from everyone and washing all eatables and ourselves frequently, we can prevent the spread of the disease, and play our part in restoring mental peace in the world.
The lives we are living right now may not feel great, but it is the most luxurious and ‘easy’ life till date. Instead of crying over what we cannot do, we should focus on how easily we can still carry out essential activities, thanks to the technology we have at hand. We shall win this war if we are stable in our mind; and that can only happen if we do not let the stress and anxiety take over. Keeping the mind calm and engaged in productive activities and thoughts, we shall overcome the current gloomy circumstances we all are in.