DURBAN - The impact of the Coronavirus and self isolation on humanity is still uncertain. The only thing we are certain about at this point in time, is the fact that toilet paper is the first item on most people's doomsday shopping list.
There is scientific proof however, that the concept of self-isolation does have a positive impact on containing the spread of the virus. However psychologists have pointed out the detrimental effects that prolonged periods of social isolation has on our mental and physical well-being.
The toxic effects of prolonged isolation
Stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse, are just the tip of the iceberg with regards to effects of prolonged isolation. What most health care professionals fail to mention is that during times like these, your mind and body are completely off-balance. Your stress levels shoot through the roof and your immune system is at its most vulnerable point.
This leads some of us to maladaptive methods of coping. Alcohol and substance abuse is usually the first train out of stress-ville, which to no surprise, leads to a host of long term side effects. Psychologists have also outlined that there is a clear link between domestic violence and alcohol abuse in the lower income areas and also the areas which aren’t constantly plastered across our screens (the upmarket suburbs).
Stress induced eating disorders also arise during panic and uncertainty. Leading to a rise in obesity and as we know also come with a host of complications.
In our normal routines, we spend on average, eight hours per day at work. We also go to the gym, shopping, meet friends for lunch, attend business meetings and finally come home and spend the rest of the day with our families. Either preparing a hearty meal or just a conversation about each other's day.
This routine leaves a person with enough time to themselves, which is required for mental stability. Being around your family all the time can be seen as ‘a blessing in disguise’ but it does have an adverse effect on communication and quality of relationships. Studies show that people need a balance between family, work and personal life.
Some parents, who are under immense pressure financially may not be able to always keep their cool. This could result in an increase of domestic violence and child abuse. In turn, it has negative effects on children in the long-term.
How do we win?
Floating in a sea of uncertainty at this time, it is hard to say for sure when we all get to wake up from this nightmare. However, it is of paramount importance that we take care of our mental and physical health during this time. The fight against the coronavirus isn't just going to be won through social distancing and self-isolation. It is a fight that requires a heap of mental stability and patience.
Scientists have proven that physical exercise has a direct impact on reducing your stress and anxiety levels. If you aren't the fit type, maybe this will be a good time to start.
Above all else, trust in our government and leaders to help us all come out on the other side, ALIVE.
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