The Novel Coronavirus disease has infected millions of people worldwide, taken lives, caused a severe economic downturn, and has turned our life upside down. In this context, schools and colleges have been shut down and students are experiencing uncertainty regarding their study, examinations and the future of their careers.
While many students have returned to the safety of their homes and families, others are still stranded and isolated in foreign countries with limited resources and are living in constant fear. The lack of a support system and isolation can lead to severe mental health trauma and can result in frustration and anxiety among students. Cause of frustration and anxiety due to Covid-19 among students:
* Long-term closure of schools and colleges can disrupt the daily routine and can be catastrophic for a student's mental health. To keep themselves occupied, students are spending longer durations on smartphones and laptops that may result in sleep difficulty or even insomnia.
* Students are feeling less connected with their peers. Abrupt isolation from school/college activities, friends, hobbies, and a lack of social life can cause distress and a sense of loneliness and helplessness among young adults.
* Loss of jobs and financial instability among family members can cause stress and heighten the symptoms of anxiety and give rise to negative emotions. Many students who have opted for higher studies abroad are anxious about the repayment of their educational loans.
* The constant fear of what is going to happen next and the uncertain future can cause anxiety. Apart from that, many students have lost their family members and friends which can be overwhelming and can worsen the symptoms of depression.
* The situation is worse for students who are stranded in foreign universities or live in other cities and are unable to return to their homelands. Loneliness and the absence of moral support from family and friends may cause stress. A complete absence of parental supervision may often induce these students to adopt unhealthy modes of coping like substance abuse, or overeating that can worsen the situation.
Ways to cope with frustration and anxiety:
* We all are social beings. While social distancing has restricted in-person visits, stay close to your friends and family through Skype and video calls. Keep regular contact with your friends and teachers and stay updated on your academic front. Do not forget to give moral support to your friends who may have lost a loved one and help them sail through these tough times.
* Try to follow your normal routine as you did during the normal days. Get up early and eat healthy regular meals. Set a timetable for your studies and finish your assignments on time. Always be on time for your online classes and set a time apart for hobbies and entertainment.
* A healthy body is key to a healthy mind. Avoid junk foods and follow a healthy diet. Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated. Practice free-hand exercise in your balcony and limit your on-screen time. Give time to yourself and enjoy doing things that you love most like reading a book, listening to music, watching a movie, or simply playing with your family members. You can also practice some deep breathing exercises or meditation for relaxing your body and mind.
* It is of course very important to keep yourself updated with relevant news and safety precautions as issued by the government from time to time. However, watching too much news can be counterproductive and detrimental to your mental health. Always follow trustworthy news channels and local newspapers and avoid fake news and misleading information. Avoid spreading rumors without verifying the facts and sources.
* This is the perfect time to take up a hobby or do things that give you pleasure. Stop spending too much time on social media and shift your focus to other sources of fun like cooking, blogging, writing, or learning a new skill online. Sign up for free online courses and utilize this time to learn something new.
* Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you find that your symptoms are worsening. Talk about your health with your family members, friends, or contact mental health professionals and seek expert advice. Offer friendly support to neighbors and friends who are feeling vulnerable and lonely and give them reassurance and hope.
You can also engage yourself in community service programs and charitable causes and offer your support. The pandemic has wrecked our lives and feelings of anxiety and distress is not uncommon. These are hard times and we must remain hopeful and boost our mental strength to combat the situation.
The writer is an Education Researcher.
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