Covid-19, considered to be the biggest pandemic since the 1918 Spanish flu, has infected nearly 1.8 million people and has brought the global economy to a virtual standstill. In order to control the virus, countries have implemented shutdowns, lockdowns, and have imposed restrictions on their movements, forcing millions of people to work from home, using webinars and online meetings.
A year ago, a lot of companies were still doubting the ‘work-from-home’ concept and questioned their employees’ motivation and morale for that model. But today, work-from-home is a stand-alone success and is a worldwide reality. However, there is still a lot of work to be done mostly for the smaller companies who can afford the lower investment and also lower overheads.
Workplaces are no longer confined to select localities or places which are prominent office spaces and neighbourhoods. I strongly feel companies are going to divest and instead invest in remote working technology. And, with that, extend their ability to reach out to many towns and cities to create a cosmopolitan environment and a more prestigious and dynamic working culture.
While most older people of the present generation have greater health risks from COVID-19, It also has brought younger people in its purview and those who are struggling emotionally. According to studies from various parts of Europe, Spain, China, and Slovenia including India, younger people tend to be more depressed, worried, helpless, anxious, stressed, and traumatized in the era of COVID-19. The same is true for women, who may also be more lonely and forced to be dependent.
It is speculated that women tend to have worse mental health in general, and certain stressors right now—like the added burden of caregiving, taking care of other members of the families, and the risk of losing jobs—may fall more heavily on women.
For younger people, it could be the disruptions to their regular routines and schedules that are to blame, more so for college students who have had to adjust to online schooling. In studies across both China, United States, and India, it has been observed and well thought that the more the pandemic was affecting people’s daily lives, the more stressful and anxious they felt.
Personality also influences the way we react in tough times. There are two related traits that surface more so during the pandemic and will be put to test which will be to tolerate uncertainty and our ability to tolerate distress. While it’s hard to know the unknown, some people are less comfortable with it than others. And right now, it’s those people who seem to be more distressed, feeling more lonely, feeling more afraid, and experiencing more depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
In studies across the world, researchers investigated what else might be the percussions and repercussions thereby making the people of disadvantaged groups vulnerable to mental health problems during the pandemic. They have found out a few key factors that will put people at risk.
For one, people with poor health or chronic diseases tend to have higher symptoms of stress, anxiety, worry, depression, and PTSD, several studies found. Of course, this might be because of the fact that these are also the people with greater health risks from COVID-19. You also have people frustrated by physical frailties, handicapped, or disabilities of a thousand kinds—by financial problems, loans, by the property issues by geographical barriers, by legal restrictions, by family considerations.
Emphasis on your income and education matter, too. The less stable your income and the less educated you are, studies suggest, the more worry, anxiety, social rejection, avoidance, isolation, depression, and stress you will experience. The pandemic is threatening the economy, from all parts of the world affecting everyone’s financial future, the future seems to be bleak and the situation is worse for people who were already struggling. In a very real sense, of the term, we’re not all in the same boat.
In situations like this, we can’t self-improve our way out of the pain and difficulty. What we’re going through right now is trauma, social rejection, depression, or at least a major stressor on a global scale. This is one of those precarious times when life really is harder by little or a lot, depending on your situation. Feeling bad is part of being human—and right now, that’s something many of us need to face, even as we work to feel better, stay connected, and help others.