Education, study and knowledge

Where do I position myself regarding the coronavirus?

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The health, economic and social crisis caused by the coronavirus has irremediably affected, although not in the same way, the world population. And it has left a pretty thick residue when it comes to mental health.

Currently, it is estimated that diagnoses of mood disorders have increased by 25% in the child and adolescent population.

Next we will see what have been the most influential factors that the pandemic has had on mental health of the population of Spain, possible effects and healthy and respectful forms of management.

  • Related article: "Mental health: definition and characteristics according to psychology"

Factors of the pandemic most influencing mental health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a worldwide spread of a disease as a pandemic and emphasizes the fact that there is no previous immunity to the new pathogen. In the case of the coronavirus, the notification of the first contagion occurred on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, taking the first measures for its containment in Spain on March 9, 2020 with the suspension of face-to-face educational activities in the Community of Madrid. Both the ignorance of the transmission mechanisms, as well as the lack of previous exposure and the lack resources for their confrontation led to such radical and unusual measures as the previous.

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There are many factors that may have influenced the management that each person has been able to do of the situation, each of us is different. Nevertheless, The studies carried out to date indicate that those that have most affected the Spanish population have been the following.

1. Use of alarmist messages

There are words that, through learning, we have associated with danger. That is why, by keeping them in mind, our brain activates response mechanisms to the threat that increase the level of stress in such a way that we can cope with it (increased heart rate, redistribution of blood to the extremities, decreased skin moisture... etc.).

This means that all our energies are going to be distributed in such a way that all those can be activated and maximized. skills that favor survival in a physical and primitive way, while other functions will be relegated to a background. Although these threat response mechanisms have little place in today's world, they are still in force in our body (surely you are able to identify more than one moment in which they have been put into play throughout your life).

Is about a situation of sustained stress over time that can lead to mental and physical health problems that in a recommendable way should be supervised by a professional.

COVID crisis
  • You may be interested in: "Fear of uncertainty: 8 keys to overcome it"

2. Loss of daily routine

Daily routines give us structure and certainty. They allow us to know what is going to happen in our life, organize ourselves and anticipate what may happen. The need for confinement prevented the normal life of the vast majority of the Spanish population since, Until now, teleworking represented a percentage underrepresented within the labor dynamics. Regulated education, for its part, did not have the necessary means to continue its activity normally.

This new situation implied that the minors had to remain at home, with the consequent supervision of the adults. Some of them essential workers, others self-employed, telecommuters or people who simply had to quit or suddenly lost their jobs.

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3. Information management

The adequacy of the content to minors, the feeling of lack of precise information, the measures erratic and the well-known infodemic (informative pandemic), a phenomenon consisting of an excess of information, not always proven or adequate to the population that receives it, have been a challenge during the crisis.

  • You may be interested in: "Infoxication: how to combat the excess of information"

4. Using the mask

Although the responses to the imposition of its use have been very diverse throughout the world, from the feeling of security and responsibility, to the feeling of oppression. In Spain, most of the people surveyed reported feeling social distance, in addition to communication difficulties.

Likewise, it has been an added difficulty for those who require lip reading to complete communicative information and an obstacle to language acquisition in the most little ones.

  • Related article: "Pandemic fatigue: what is it and how does it affect us"

5. Confinement and isolation

While it is true that these are the most effective methods for containing infectious diseases and have also been the most used historically, they are unusual measures due to the low threat they pose today in day. The difference between the two, confinement and isolation, lies in the confirmation or not of the diagnosis in the person or persons identified. While confinement is the measure prior to confirmation, isolation is the one applied once the disease is diagnosed.

The restrictions to be able to leave the home have led to a greater amount of time shared with the rest of the cohabitants or a greater isolation for people who live alone. In both cases, the difficulties have not been few: the people who lived with partners or relatives have been forced to share more time, and this is not always of quality due to the difficulties of regulation.

Intimate violence behaviors have intensified (both intrafamily and in the couple), relapses in mental health have been triggered, or new disorders have seen the light as a result of this stressful situation. To this have also been added the consequences of the lack of health care for chronically ill patients, who have seen their mental health diminish.

6. Perception of an uncertain future

It is a rare event, which we have not experienced previously in this adult generation and those close to it, so we do not have direct experience about recovery or consequences.

7. Social isolation

It has been promoted by containment measures and maintained by the lack of resources to stay connected. This isolation has meant large differences based on age or socioeconomic status: it has slowed down the socialization processes of the little ones; has alienated the elderly due to the lack of technological knowledge and has opened a socioeconomic gap in which those with lower purchasing power have seen their ability to continue with education or relationships conditioned social.

  • You may be interested in: "Unwanted loneliness: what is it and how can we combat it"

Common affectations

As mentioned in several points of the article (it is important not to lose sight of it), the circumstances individuals, as well as emotional resources and supports make the experience different for each person. However, scientific evidence reveals the following symptoms as the most common among the Spanish population.

1. Headaches and tension pains

The most referred by neurologists in the general population; they have to do with the physical expression of an emotional tension.

2. Insomnia

Intimately linked to lack of routine. Furthermore, in adolescents it has been intensified by an intrinsic characteristic of this stage of development: delayed sleep.

Adolescents, as in all life stages, have their own sleep cycle. In their case, they have an easier time staying awake at night and drowsiness in the morning.

The lack of a school routine has favored adolescents' natural tendency to stay up late, so that awakening has also been delayed and with it the altered rhythms. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, usually causes irascibility and favors emotional instability.

  • Related article: "Insomnia: what is how it impacts our health"

3. Bruxism

It can be day or night. Consists in clenching or grinding your teeth, and is usually related to periods of stress.

4. Emotional lability

It consists of having an irregular, unstable state of mind. The pressures of an unusual life or sharing space with other partners for a longer time, as well as the feeling of loneliness can promote emotional changes and difficulty in regulating.

5. Physical exhaustion

Derived from sleep disturbances, emotional exhaustion or the inability to carry out normal exercise routines.

6. Mood disorders

It involves reaching another step in discomfort. Symptoms of anguish or deep sadness appear that last for more than fifteen days, sleep or appetite disturbances, memory problems, slowing or agitation of thought.

Keys to understand you, understand you and advance respectfully

Whatever symptoms may have appeared, they are evidence that something is not working as well as it should. Consulting with a professional can provide the necessary tools to initiate changes that lead to well-being.

On the other hand, individual experiences are completely different from each other. Nevertheless, Here are some tips to make (se) a good accompaniment in the return to normality.

1. Validate your experience and that of others

If you are in front of another person, try to put yourself in their position. It is very likely that their difficulties are different from yours, but just as valid, painful and important.

If you are the one who is experiencing a difficulty, give it the importance it deserves, trying to minimize it will not make it disappear.

2. Ask for help from trusted people and specialists

Humans are social beings and, as such, we need other people to live and develop. Psychologists, pedagogues, teachers, family and friends can be great allies.

3. Get updated with reliable sources

At the moment, fairly accurate information is available on the spread of the virus and the effectiveness of protection measures. Having accurate information provides a sense of security and control of the situation. Remember to adjust the content when it is you who transmits it.

Some of those that you can consult are: World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health, United Childen’s Fund (UNICEF) or the Spanish Journal of Public Health (RESP).

4. Approach your goals safely and respectfully

Set your final goal and intermediate steps to get there, this way it will be easier to see the small daily achievements. Remember to choose realistic goals and respect process timelines.

5. Look for motivating spaces, companies and activities

Motivation is the drive that drives us to action. The more pleasant stimuli we have around us in difficult situations, the easier it will be to face them.

6. Flexible measurements within safe limits

Flexibility in any situation is one of the most valuable and useful resources that we can exercise. It allows us to give each event the importance it deserves and deploy the necessary means to function in a comfortable and adjusted way, without overexerting ourselves or burdening ourselves.

Staying informed so that you can make appropriate decisions can free up mental space and burden. important emotional points about this circumstance and leave them free to enjoy situations much more pleasurable.

7. Normalizes the need for (self) care in any situation and individual differences

The novelty and intensity with which we have lived through the pandemic has led to (self) care being focused on protecting ourselves from the virus. Caring is much more.
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