“Follow COVID-19 guidelines and relax”
Q. I am a patient of anxiety disorder and have few obsessions too. I have become very restless and worried with this pandemic. My sleep has reduced and I worry for me and my family. This situation I am trying to control but are there ways of helping people like me. I am sure everyone is anxious but I am more so.
Ans. This is an extremely relevant question in the current crisis of COVID-19. Anxieties have increased for the entire country and people with anxiety disorder and OCD must be more concerned than others. Although there is no evidence to show that OCD has increased or that existing patients of OCD have worsened. In fact there is an opinion that patients of OCD may be better equipped to handle the guidelines given by WHO and CDC for they are already very careful about washing hands and maintaining good levels of hygiene. If you feel you are experiencing an increase in symptoms then you may try re-structuring your thoughts and controlling irrelevant thoughts which creep in. the guidelines mention a few important points which if followed will keep you safe and healthy. One, is staying at home and working from home and going out only for essential commodities twice a week or once a week. Two, is always wearing a mask when you step out. Three, is social distancing when you come near to another person. Fourth, washing your hands frequently and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with bare hands. Fifth, is being alert to symptoms of cough, sore throat and high fever. If you follow all these guidelines rest assured nothing will happen to you or your family members. Anxiety of catching an infection is an important concern and once you have taken due precautions don’t allow negative thoughts to accelerate. Check them there as being irrational. Another symptom which attaches itself to an anxious mind is the sense of being responsible for family getting the infection. This is also irrational and allow each one to be responsible. Educate all family members about the guidelines and see that it is followed seriously. Once you do this learn to relax and meditate. Deep breathe and exercise daily. Keep yourself busy in creative ways by your hobbies and duties. Praying will help calm and ease the mind. Instead of worrying engage in activities in a mindful way. Being cautious is good but being overly worried is not needed. A session on cognitive behaviour therapy will help you curb all extra anxieties.
Q. Madam how to manage children during this lockdown period. Full day they are chatting and playing online games and fighting with each other. I have tried many things in my knowledge but I feel tired and stressed out with children. Please give tips.
Ans. This situation of ‘social emergency’ is very tough on all humanity and business too. This is an unprecedented situation I have never experienced in my lifetime. This is a new experience and requires a lot of mental resources to manage it. I am not sure what will work but I can give some tips which other mothers are using. The first thing for the family to do is to discuss the whole issue of COVID-19 seriously and collectively. Ask each member if they have understood the problem and the precautions to follow. Then in another collective family meeting, discuss how each member would like to engage themselves in a creative and happy manner. Many mothers are encouraging their spouse and their children to try their hand on cooking and baking new dishes and enjoy together. Of course cleaning up the kitchen mess will be part of the deal and will not be your headache alone! The second engagement could be group games like carrom or scrabble or online games in a group. The third is to chat with the children and know them better. In the rush of life parents don’t get enough time with kids and being with them in a friendly way and teaching them new things can be great for both. The other option is to pray and meditate together for a few minutes daily. You will see that a schedule will emerge in the home and all will follow it. Fighting should be ‘banned’ between children and ask them to manage their own affairs. Be polite with kids and don’t get them angry. Your own behaviour and how you manage and control it will be the key in these abnormal days. Make full use of the time at home and the collective spirit.