Calling what the coronavirus has done to our way of life a disruption is a gross understatement. For small business owners who feel responsible for their own families as well as those of their employees, the anxiety and stress they feel are palpable. Add the quarantine taking place across the country to the mix, and both those and other mental issues can get worse.
A new timely infographic from HealthTrends developed by Nowsourcing titled, “Mental Health Under Quarantine” looks at the toll the outbreak is taking on the mental health and wellbeing of people dealing with COVID-19.
Mental Health Under Quarantine
The goal of the infographic is to determine how the isolation measures are affecting mental issues and what you can do about it. And as the quarantine measures increase, there will be other problems business owners, their families, their employees and everyone else will have to deal with.
When it comes to small business owners and their employees, the impact of the coronavirus runs the gamut. Employers/owners are dealing with some frazzled employees or are a little mentally stressed out right now themselves. At the same time, some businesses are operating while others are closed, so there is another dynamic to consider.
The passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the $350 billion it makes available for small businesses will help. However, the pandemic is an ongoing crisis and small business owners and their employees are navigating uncharted waters. And the questions it raises are in great part also responsible for the anxiety owners and employees are feeling.
So, what can you do about it? The infographic breaks the data into three segments. The effects of social isolation, adjusting to the new normal, and resources for mental health.
Human beings are social creatures, so disrupting this behavior introduces a host of mental issues. When you consider 77% of Americans report having close relationships that provide emotional security and support their wellbeing, the need for social interaction is clear.
In contrast, the report says even short periods of isolation can increase anxiety or depression. Adding this can lead to risk for different health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and stroke.
But when it comes to mental issues, it can affect even those without any prior history. The isolation is responsible for difficulty in sleeping, finding a normal routine and concentrating. However, it gets worse for individuals with a prior history. People with obsessive-compulsive disorders and anxiety can see their symptoms exacerbated.
If you happen to run your business or work from home, there are ways you can adjust to and help ease the temporary transition.
The New Normal
Since there is not a set date for when things might resemble normal again, adjusting to the new normal is a great idea. And for most people, it means working from home.
The key, according to the report, is to organize your space, stay connected, keep clean, and create a routine.
You are going to be working from home. By creating a dedicated workspace, you can mentally shift from your work at the end of the day. This also lets everyone in the house know you are working and they shouldn’t interrupt you unless it is important. Whether it is a dedicated room or a small section of your room, make it look like an office.
The next step is to stay connected with your coworkers as well as your friends and family. Since you are not going out make a concerted effort on both fronts. There are many tools to make this happen, so make sure to text, video and phone calls, get on social media and even game.
Keep Clean and Create a Routine
A cluttered space creates negative emotions. Confusion, tension, irritability and worry are just some of the emotions the report highlights. By simply cleaning for as little as 10 minutes a day you can get rid of these emotions or minimize the anxiety they cause.
Better yet, this is the type of repetitive behavior that can make you feel more in control. And once your space is clean it fosters positive emotions such as a sense of wellbeing, calmness and happiness.
Americans say cleaning gives them a sense of accomplishment (70%), destress (61%), and experience relaxation (54%).
Along with the cleaning, creating other daily routines will improve your state of mind. Start by changing out of your pajamas to get things going. Follow up with a workout and if you can, later on in the day add a stroll through the park.
Last but definitely not least, limit the amount of news you consume. As you try to control your environment, getting bombarded with the big picture can sabotage your efforts. Choose when to watch the news so you can have more control.
Mental Health Resources
The report rightly points out, “It is up to you to search for the resources you need.” Find out local health professionals and groups you can connect with during this time.
The good news is there are online tools and apps you can get a hold of for managing mental health issues during the crisis.
If the anxiety you are feeling is not serious, you can try guided meditation and cognitive-behavioral therapy-based apps. Taking a meditation class along with tracking your mood, activities, thoughts, diet, and social engagement will put you in a better space. Not to mention you can identify symptoms of more serious issues early.
If on the other hand, you need more help, you can connect to a therapist through video or text. Get in touch with your general practitioner and insurance company to find the best sources for your particular case.
Take a look at the infographic below for more.