In a pandemic, a lot depends on being together, even when we are far apart

In a pandemic, a lot depends on being together, even when we are far apart

We still face many challenges during a pandemic, but much depends on being together, even remotely, if we are physically far apart. The conversation has healing power - says psychiatrist Dr. Tomasz Szafrański.

In a pandemic, remote work is often required, if of course, it is possible; we must also limit direct contacts with other people, both friends and close relatives. This negatively affects our well-being and worsens mental health.

During a webinar for journalists, Dr. Tomasz Szafrański from the Wolski Center for Mental Health in Warsaw and the Department of Psychiatry of the Medical Faculty of the Lazarski University in Warsaw advised how to deal with such a difficult situation.

“Children and the elderly, people with somatic diseases and mental disorders, as well as people addicted to drugs, such as alcohol, are more likely to feel anxiety. This also applies to people who, due to their work, more often come into contact with infected and sick people, mainly health care, police and other social services workers "- noted the specialist. In his opinion, as many as half of these people experience anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.

How to cope? According to the specialist, we should try to strengthen our resistance to excessive stress. Drinking alcohol is not beneficial, although alcohol consumption has increased. It is better to take care of a constant circadian rhythm, regular times of going to bed and getting up. In addition to alcohol, avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and other stimulants. Exposure to blue light from screens during the second half of the day should also be limited, although this is difficult to meet.

Any form of physical activity is very important. Exercise at home, for example, every morning before starting work. You need to prepare for remote work, i.e. dress appropriately, you must not sit in pajamas all day or work in bed. It has to be a different place, preferably another room if possible.

It's also worth exercising outside, of course keeping your distance. You also need to take care of your diet and a balanced diet. Relaxation techniques are helpful, such as deep breathing and continuing with the activities we've always liked.

“We must not give in to negative thoughts, especially when we are facing a catastrophe. You should also avoid thinking about what will happen, better focus on the activity being performed. Every day it is worth looking for a new idea and wondering how to use it. It's best to set yourself small goals to achieve. And also practice positive thinking that we'll be able to get through it all. It is helpful to write down positive events from the past week or those for which we can be grateful ”- suggests Dr. Tomasz Szafrański.

He believes it is a good idea to limit the flow of information about the pandemic. It helps - he convinces. And she urges us not to constantly check the Internet and television - it is better to do it only once a day. The more information about the number of sick and deaths, and the number of free ventilators left, the more we are exposed to fear, he points out.

Despite the distance, being virtually together is very important. Multiple activities can be performed together from a distance. For example, in front of the computer screen, you can exercise, talk together, practice religion and keep in touch with loved ones.

“First of all, you have to talk about what is happening, how we feel, because you should not be ashamed to talk about what I am going through, even with your superiors. Talk to your children about whether they are worried about anything. If so, reassure them that it's natural to experience fear. Remember, the conversation is healing, ”argues Dr. Tomasz Szafrański.

Worrying is excessive worry, constant wakefulness, and physical symptoms such as palpitations and trembling hands. Signals of mental burnout are excessive sadness, depression and indifference, apathy, being easily irritable, becoming frustrated and blaming other people, and neglecting hygiene and appearance.

When is it worth asking a psychiatrist for help? Mainly when all of these symptoms worsen and impair our daily functioning. Any thoughts of resignation are disturbing, especially those not worth living. Then you need to consult a doctor. (PAP)

Author: Zbigniew Wojtasiński