Lately, everything seems to boil down to the pandemic and how it has changed our lives so noticeably. Coronavirus is a topic that has been discussed worldwide to the point where even five years understand the current global situation (Like for real. I saw my neighbor’s daughter lecture them about the dangers of heading out without a mask!) Fortunately, we have been able to document the physical symptoms of the virus. Like most harmful microbes, Coronavirus triggers discernible changes within our body. Some of the common symptoms associated with it are fevers, body aches, dry coughs, headaches, loss of smell and taste, difficulty in breathing. The flipside to this is the lesser talked about emotional and psychological effects.
Mental Health Trends in the Corona Era
Mental health is a sensitive topic that most countries and communities around the world have yet to address. According to WHO most countries allot less than 2% of their annual health budget to deal with mental health issues. This number has only dropped since the pandemic, while the number of people facing such issues is on a perpetual rise. Add to this distressing equation the factor that the Covid pandemic is also responsible for an increase in global anxiety and stress, we have ourselves a critical situation.
A recent study conducted by The Center of Healing (TCOH) revealed that anxiety and stress-induced health disorders have spiked in India, post-Covid. The study extrapolated the survey data for the Indian population and it was observed that around 74% of Indians are suffering from stress, while 88% of the population suffers from anxiety. The study also reported that therapists have reported an increase in both first-time and repeat patients. A similar situation exists worldwide. People are afraid. Recurring lockdowns, the poor state of the Indian economy, fears related to getting/keeping one's job, prolonged isolation, lack of human contact and other related elements have combined to create this messy, anxiety-riddled situation that a majority of the population is currently in.
Symptoms of Anxiety/Stress (and other Mental Health issues)
Being away from family is probably the toughest situation, even for grown adults. Especially when it has already been one year and the end to this pandemic seems to be nowhere in sight. While stress and anxiety are umbrella terms, an individual’s psychological troubles may manifest in different and unique ways. We have listed below issues that are frequently linked with anxiety/stress.
- Mood swings; alternating between feelings of intense anger, sadness, frustration and fear,
- Being unable to focus; difficulty in concentrating,
- Facing sleeping problems; frequent nightmares,
- Sudden changes in habits, attitude, food-taste and desires,
- Increased substance/drug abuse,
- Frequent headaches; consistently feeling tired and dull,
- Sudden spasms or twitches,
- Difficulty in committing, etc.
Psychiatric problems are a greater concern for people recovering from Covid-19 as well as frontline workers. Studies have linked a greater rate of development of insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders in people that have been diagnosed with the virus. A survey reported that frontline workers are the worst affected group by far. Having to deal with the pandemic head-on while disregarding their personal safety is bound to place a massive amount of stress on anybody. We owe a great deal to these heroes who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. The best and easiest way to show our appreciation for them would be by practicing the commonly circulated pandemic safety guidelines and allowing them to do their jobs with as little distraction as possible.
Mental Health and Ayurveda
Disorders of the mind are not a recent development. They have existed for centuries and have been subjected to various treatment regimens over the ages. Ayurveda handled mental and emotional problems via the treatment process known as Satwawajay Chikitsa. (an ancient version of modern psychotherapy) This school of treatment has been mentioned in the Charaka Samhita. Satwawajay focussed on strengthening one's mind and increasing their control over their thoughts to cure mental disorders. The regimen is coupled together with potent Ayurvedic formulations containing ingredients like Jatamansi or Shankhpushpi. Satwawajay tries to rehabilitate patients by educating them of their limitations, helping them to accept them and then working around them. Ayurveda claims that's an individual's physical and mental state is directly linked with their overall happiness.
This concept was taken even further by the practitioners, who understood that each person had a unique personality and associated problems. Satwawajay, along with the neighboring streams of Ayurveda, was utilized to create a tailor-fit recovery plan for individual patients. The process of substituting the offending emotion with another that would set the patient on the road to recovery was another major aspect of this Ayurvedic discipline.
While we are on the topic of Ayurvedic formulations that treat mental disorders, let us talk a bit about their core ingredients. Most of these formulations are bound to contain either Shankhapushpi or Jatamansi or a mixture of these. The reason being that they are incredibly beneficial for most things related to the brain. Shankhapushpi has been used in several recipes to treat sleeping disorders, depression, anxiety as well as other emotional disorders. Similarly, Jatamansi helps in eliminating toxins from your body, clears the mind, relaxes the nervous system, while also de-stressing your mind. (Psst! If you are looking for something that has the benefits of both Jatamasni and Shankhpushpi, you may want to check out our Brainkey Gold Malt)
How to Deal with it?
Frustration and annoyance are common human emotions. However, being in such a mindset for prolonged time frames is quite detrimental to your health. Chronic stress and anxiety can have severe long-term effects that may adversely affect your body. Excessive stress and anxiety could result in depression, personality disorders, paranoia and other mental health problems. Not only does anxiety and stress affect your state of mind, but it also subverts your immune system. Studies classify heart conditions, digestive disorders, skin infections, obesity, weakened immune systems, etc as direct consequences of anxiety and stress. We have listed below a few ways to help you deal with your Covid-related stress and anxiety.
- While the current situation seems inescapable, escape is quite simply the only way to deal with it. Take a break from your work, studies, chores, etc. Set aside a few hours each day to relax, maybe have a cup of herbal tea (our Ayush Kwath and Detox Key Herbal teas are great options) and listen to your favorite tunes.
- Although Knowledge is power, Ignorance is bliss too. Try to avoid constantly checking about pandemic-related news and stories. Limit your pandemic updates to just once or twice a day, which may allow you to focus better on other matters.
- Taking care of your body, and by extension, yourself is a “Two birds with one stone” approach to dealing with the situation. Making sure your body is fit and in a good state reduces your chances of falling sick, while also keeping your mental state in an overall better condition. (If you are looking for ways to improve your health or your immunity, head on over to our shop to find the perfect Ayurvedic product for you)
- Keep your friends and family close. This situation is just as hard on them as it is on you. Make sure to constantly check up on family and friends. An act as simple as picking the phone and calling your loved ones could end up being the boost they need to turn the day around!
- Taking up a relaxing physical activity, like yoga or meditation, could drastically improve your mental state. You could even join (online) clubs or communities to help you keep your schedule and stay committed to the activity. Practicing physical activity on a daily basis is a great way to release pent-up stress and frustration!
The world is a harsh place even without the Covid-19 virus complicating things. The pandemic has put the entire world in a tough spot. It's times like these that we need to come together and help out whomever we can. Trust, support, companionship and love for our fellow humans can go a long way in our current situation. With a little help from each other, humanity can (and will!) overcome the hurdle that is Corona. In the evergreen words of Fredrick Buechner,
“Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.”
Don’t be afraid.
Reference 1: COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey
Reference 2: People with COVID-19 More Likely to Develop Depression, Anxiety, and Dementia
Reference 3: Coronavirus and mental health tips
Reference 4: Ayurvedic concepts related to psychotherapy
Reference 5: 74% of Indians suffering from stress; 88% reported anxiety amid Covid-19: Study