This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Vitória Fateicha da Silva Soares is currently in the sixth semester of medice at Universidade Potiguar (UNP) from Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
“We are the world … We’re saving out own lives” despite referring to humanitarian aid, this part of Michael Jackson’s music leads us to the feeling of self-care needed in this moment of crisis. Since March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a pandemic state due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) (1). Since then, social isolation measures have been taken around the world and they have had direct impact on mental health.
We know, therefore, that social isolation is a drastic change in the dynamics of society and can generate some feelings such as anguish, the fixation by data about the disease, the fear of dying or losing loved ones and the feeling of loneliness (2). So, this is a risk factor for psychiatric conditions and suicides have already been reported in India and South Korea (3).
That said, a personal reorganization is necessary to deal with these feelings and this reality. According to this, the world entities adopted measures such as attendance by electronic means or letters and dissemination of information about self-care at this moment (3). For this, there are some techniques and personal habits, easily accessible, that can help in maintaining mental health.
At first, it is important to maintain contact, even if virtual, with people who belong to our social cycle, that is, reserving part of your day to make a video call and talk about feelings is an important step for self-care (4).
Besides that, some literature reviews say that Mindfulness techniques (5) have been used in association with a therapeutic approach and reduced anxiety symptoms in patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and contributed to resilience in stressful psychological issues.
Still within the context of quality and lifestyle, physical activity is important, especially yoga practices, an activity that involves breathing and strengthening and, according to some reviews, was able to reduce anxiety when done in association with behavioral therapies, especially due to the relaxation phases involved in the practice (6).
Furthermore, at a time when excessive information about COVID-19 can lead to feelings of excessive fear and anguish (2), it is important not to stay focused on news with a negative tone and avoid contacting Fake News at this time (7).
With this, it is important to seek help when necessary and, in this sense, some social networks such as Instagram provide guidance for supporting the center for valuing life when typing in the search for #anxiety (8). In addition, some platforms around the world provide psychological support, such as Young Minds, Axiety UK, which explain the state of anxiety and provide telephone support (4).
Finally, it is important to take care of mental health, after all, the fight against the Corona Virus would be of no use if we have an increase in the incidence of other diseases in the psychiatric field. Also, it is important the self-perception of the state of anxiety, which allows the individual to embrace this feeling and be able to devise methods to prevent a crisis.
- World Health Organization declares new Coronavirus pandemic [internet]. Public health; 2020 Mar 11 [cited 2020 Apr 20]. Available from: https://www.unasus.gov.br/noticia/organizacao-mundial-de-saude-declara-pandemia-de-coronavirus.
- ORNELL, Felipe. Pandemic fear and COVID-19: impact on mental health and possible strategies. Debates In Psychiatry [Internet] 2020 April. [Acessed 2010 Apr 23] 11(2). Available from: https://www.abp.org.br/rdp2020-ahead.
- SCHMIDT, Beatriz. Impacts on mental health and psychological interventions in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Journal of Psychology Studies, 2020; 10 (3):1-26.
- VENEMA, Vibeke [BBC]. Coronavirus: the impact of the disease on the mental health of adolescents and young people [Acessed 2020 Apr 20]; Available from: https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-52157980.
- Hoge EA, Bui E, Marques L, Metcalf CA, Morris LK, Robinaugh DJ, et al. Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity. Journal Clinic Psychiatry, 2013; 74:786-92.
- VORKAPIC, Camila Ferreira; RANGE, Bernard. The benefits of yoga in anxiety disorders na Rev. Bras.ter. Cogn 2011 Jun [Acessed 2020 Apr 23] 7(1) 50-54. Available from: http://pepsic.bvsalud.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1808-56872011000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso
- Goiás State Government of Goiás. Guide to Mental Health Care in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Social Isolation. [Acessed 2020 Apr 20]. Available from: https://www.saude.go.gov.br/noticias/764-coronavirus/10711-estado-lanca-guia-de-cuidado-da-saude-mental-na-pandemia-da-covid -19-and-social-isolation.
- SOUZA, Jessica. 10 tips to control anxiety during the pandemic. 2020 [Acessed 2020 Apr 20] Available from: https://razoesparaacreditar.com/ansiedade-pandemia-dicas/?utm_source=notificacoes&utm_medium=onesignal&utm_campaign=NotificacoesPush.
About the author
Vitória Fateicha da Silva Soares is currently in the sixth semester of medicine at Universidade Potiguar (UNP) from Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. She is from Bahia and uncovered the IFMSA before get started the university. At this time, she is the LORA-D of her local comittee of SCORA and believe that in this crisis we have to be connected with people that we love because sometimes they are better than medicines. She believes that we can do the difference with simple actions that can contribute with the global and this is what make her feel confortable at IFMSA.