The coronavirus lockdown has forced millions of people around the world to stop seeing family and friends who previously filled their schedules to the brim. Mental health experts revealed that some of us may be dealing with the situation much better with the sudden change to our lives than others.
According to Liz Ritchie, a psychotherapist at St. Andrews Healthcare in Northampton, while extroverts might be suffering, introverts on the other hand will be fine in their own company.
Meanwhile, Organizational Neuroscience senior lecturer Dr. David Plans, claims that most of us will likely feel lonely, pessimistic, and overwhelmed as the lockdown continues.
FEMAIL has interviewed different experts to know their opinion on how and why people feel the way they are at the moment and what coping mechanisms are best in this type of situation.
Loneliness: Try chatting with your neighbor over the fence
The intense loss of friends and family we can no longer see is the most common feeling during the coronavirus lockdown. The importance of friendship in times of crisis is something that all the mental health experts agree on.
Consultant psychiatrist for Priory's Roehampton Hospital, Dr. Niall Campbell, recommends chatting with your neighbors over the fence, smiling at the dog walker while passing by the road, and virtually catching up with your friends.
Very few of us are happy on our own as most of us are very social and this is dreadfully unnatural to be forced into isolation, Campbell said. If people do not go out of their houses, it can be damaging. So people must do as much as they can within the guidelines whether that is talking to neighbors across the fence or going out for a walk every day, he added.
Dr. David Plans said that loneliness can cause the physical response of stress in the body. A Perceived social isolation or loneliness is a state of mind rather than the act of really be alone, he revealed.
Low self-esteem and pessimism: Skip the text for a phone call
As we enter another week of lockdown, the feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and pessimism are bound to begin seeping into our everyday mindset, according to Dr. Plan. These feelings are caused by a prolonged period of loneliness that people start to feel stressed.
Although stress can be good at times especially during a threat, under prolonged stressful conditions, cortisol and adrenaline are consistently released by the sympathetic nervous system which can increase perceived stress, anxiety, pessimism, and low self-esteem.
A bit lost? Acceptance is the key
When the lockdown is enforced, many appointments have been canceled and people are now working from home, skipping family visits, and staying at home every weekend.
Dr. Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic said that this likely provokes the feelings of losing both our everyday life as we know it, and loss of agency and control.
People are like going through the stages of grief which are less like a linear week-by-week reaction. Soon, we can hope to get to the final stage which is acceptance. People should practice accepting the situation to combat feelings of stress to make a more realistic plan around how to make the most of the time.
Feeling drained? Look for the good
Instead of getting stressed because of the situation, it is important to see the good and adopt a change in lifestyle. Attach a positive meaning to the change and maybe ask yourself what has the situation opened up as opportunities and what have you learned, psychiatrist Andres Fonesca said.
It all boils down to what we can control and what we can learn from the situation, he added.