Nushrin Shadoo Buccus, a graduate in Psychology with Counselling skills, says this is the first time that Mauritius is experiencing such a situation: The threat of a deadly virus and confinement, with all the associated disadvantages. Therefore, it is important for people to organize their life during this period of confinement so as to avoid any negative effect on their health, well-being and general mental state.
Nushrin Shadoo Buccus says it is a fact that a long confinement is likely to generate stress. We have people in confinement at home, we have people put in quarantine and people put in isolation in hospitals. We should also not forget people under care, some intensive care. She says apart from stress, nervousness and anxiety also arise.
Most people live in fear of contracting the virus, even though they are in lockdown situation, people have to go out, for example to purchase basic provisions. Every minor symptom that someone will have, for example a cough or sneeze, will make him doubtful. Another form of fear if the fear of running out of basic provisions. This is what has made many people resort to panic buying. Many people tend to buy more than usual, to safeguard for their future.
Why do people stockpile goods? This is because many people are uncertain over how long the lockdown will last? Will it be extended? Will it last another 15 days another month? Nobody can predict as it depends on the evolution of the situation. This is why some people are buying more provisions or extra bottle of gas to be safe. This is why it is important for the authorities to give reassurance that there is enough stock of goods, food or gas in the country. Indeed, the prime minister and the minister of commerce have both many times stated that the country has enough provisions and there should be no panic at all.
Another element of anxiety is mistrust. People tend to mistrust the flow of information. There are too many information sources, including fake news outlets, irresponsible of sharing of unverified news which add to the general panic. This is why it is important to rely only on trusted media sources and official government communiques. It is interesting to note that the authorities have now launched a new app (besafemoris) to inform the public. The website is www.besafemoris.mu. The WHO has also recommended avoid being too much exposed to many news. If excessive Coronavirus news brings you more anxiety, limit your exposure.
A sudden change in lifestyle creates boredom. People stay indoors They can’t go out and in any case all shops, restaurants, fast food outlets, shopping malls, leisure centres, etc are closed. People can’t also go to the beach. People who have been very socially active outdoors will feel the change of lifestyle more than those who were less active.
So how do we avoid the psychological effects of lockdown? Avoid negative thinking. It is important to keep our minds occupied and focus on the present. We can watch TV, or play indoor games such as Scrabbles with the family. Children are not going to school so we can seize the opportunity to catch up on the lessons.
We can still keep in touch with families and friends via social media. Many of us also have the opportunity to work from home. It is also possible to do some exercise at home.
“The lockdown is also an opportunity for us to catch up on many things, be it reading, writing, enhancing our spirituality, our hobbies, discovering our culinary art, decluttering our home, spending more time with our loved ones, playing with our kids or our pets, etc. let’s make the maximum positive use of this lockdown,” she concludes.