With the advent of the phased Unlock being introduced, slowly things are heading towards a New Normal state, but after such a stringent lockdown many of us have been at the receiving end of varied emotional setbacks as the sudden and drastic alteration in the daily routine has affected everyone’s mental health irrespective of the age, profession or gender.
By Arouba Kabir
Mankind would have never imagined that in this fast paced, technologically advanced world, a minute invisible thing like a virus could absolutely stop life to a Point Blank. With the advent of the phased Unlock being introduced, slowly things are heading towards a New Normal state, but after such a stringent lockdown many of us have been at the receiving end of varied emotional setbacks as the sudden and drastic alteration in the daily routine has affected everyone’s mental health irrespective of the age, profession or gender.
Considering life in a Corporate setup, the disease has brought about multi-dimensional effects.
Financial instability, Job insecurities, Pay cuts, lay offs and what not.
The financial instability due to pay cuts, the toll that the work from home approach took on the employee’s health and lifestyle as well as the looming fear of going out of business or losing their job is just the tip of the iceberg and has acted as a trigger to unnerve various dilemmas an individual was already facing. India within a week of commencement of the nationwide lockdown, showed a 20% increase in the number of reported cases of mental illness, as reported in a research by the Indian Psychiatry Society. Counsellors and Psychatrists have also confirmed a 35% to 40% increase in cases of stress and panic attacks in April versus previous months. Researchers say that the continuous flow of news notifications, emails, virtual meetings, and social media updates – coupled with mandates to work from home and stay inside – are taking a toll on a person’s overall wellbeing. Research has shown that the impact of stress, anxiety and mental illness on productivity could amount to $16.3 trillion in economic losses by 2030.
Mental health issues have always been stigmatised in our society. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, symptoms of internet addiction, pornography addiction, experiences of hostility, overthinking, changes in food and sleep habits, social empathy and relationship quality are mist of the cases I am receiving these days. Some of us during this lockdown are wrestling with familial conflict while others are stressing over how coronavirus disruptions have affected their careers, businesses, academic performance or daily wages.
Due to this transition, Digital Wellness is becoming an increasingly important part of an organization’s responsibility towards its employees around the globe. With the introduction of new styles of working, businesses around the globe are placing higher bets on balanced businesses where they can meet client’s needs as well as provide a reassuring atmosphere for employees to inculcate feelings of being safe and healthy- emotionally & physically while fulfilling their work.
We need the followings to keep the emotionally resilience and productivity going on:
Digital wellness programs: These testing times have necessitated that companies focus on employees’ Digital Wellness, enhance their emotional resilience as well as provide a conducive environment during a crisis period. Instilling all this will ensure that workers are in a better condition to bounce back faster when organizations return to some degree of normalcy.
Introducing more Work friendly home atmosphere and Mental Health workshops and on-board counseling services:
- Employers can play a major role in this transition by helping the employees’ set up a proper work space as working from the bed or couch leads to sprains and pains which eventually decreases productivity. A designated, organized and clean desk space maintains the work mode as well as makes one more efficient thus enhancing time management by lowering possible distractions.
- We all understand that being at home the working hours have got severely affected. The fear of missing out leads one to constantly keep checking their phones, emails etc., this has led to increased cases of insomnia, anxiety, depression and addiction.
- Developing and maintaining a routine including breaks and daily work allotment is the basic plan, employers can elevate it by adding meditational breaks, indulging in small informal talk. Everyone likes to be asked how things are, once in a while
- Various studies being conducted have indicated that this sudden loss of employment, along with financial stress or even distress, has enhanced the psychological impact on the working community, shown by symptoms of increased aggressiveness and post-traumatic stress. This situation could also revive memories of old traumas in some people. Post-traumatic Stress disorders refers to an altered sense of psychological being which brings about changes in an individual’s response mechanism to situations.
- Being parts of motivational talks, yoga, meditation, expressive arts like art therapy & colour therapy amongst various others shall help one to stay focused and healthy-emotionally and physically.
The effect of COVID can be unmasked in an altogether different light once the normal workflow resumes eventually. Thus, it is important to equip ourselves to handle the COVID-19 not just physically by maintaining social distancing and using personal hygiene measures, but also emotionally by building and understanding coping mechanism to combat this pandemic and its aftermath.
During these troubled times, I and my team at Enso Wellness have been actively engaged in conducting and participating in various Workshops, Webinars, Summits as well as Live talk sessions. Our Corporate Wellness Program aims at helping the clients and their employees deal with the ongoing pandemic and its repercussions. It is a customizable program which is curated individually according to the needs of the respective audience.
(The author is Mental Health Therapist, Founder, Enso Wellness. Views expressed are personal.)