Frequent lockdowns and quarantine have become standard measures to curb the pandemic. While those infected with COVID-19 or even suspected of having the disease are forced into quarantine for others’ safety, isolation is known to cause severe boredom often leading to depression among some. The separation from family members in addition to having no set routine result in anxiety.
Praveen K P Nair, a collection officer in a private company, was not required to be present in office as his job demanded that he be on the move. But he is now forced to work from home and quarantine himself after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
“I have been in isolation for six days now,” he said, adding that he is staying away from his wife and children. In loneliness he has become anxious. “I have no routine and most importantly I cannot meet my family. I am not used to watching television or surfing the net as I am more of a social person. Every evening I used to take a walk on the beach, but now everything has come to a standstill.”
According to Dr Nandhini Nandakumar, a psychotherapist and counsellor, lack of purpose makes a person depressed.
“Initially, the rest seems good for a few days, but as human beings we are programmed and purpose driven, and when this character is not fulfilled, sadness and gloominess sneak in.”
She added, “Our life has become miserable due to the pandemic. As a psychotherapist, I personally believe through my experiences that everyone is committed towards an aim. It might be small or big, professional or personal; when somehow this target is missing, people feel like a ship without sails. Man is a social being and to be cut away physically is indeed a problem.”
She said people can use the time for self analysis and also take up exercising or a hobby to pass the time fruitfully.
There are many who have started work from home. But work without colleagues, as claimed by many, is distracting.
Salim al Harthy, who was in home quarantine recently, said, “I was working from home but I did not find a purpose. There were no colleagues and no office engagement. It was good for the first few days but soon I was getting depressed and felt not productive enough. The days passed slowly making me lazier and bored.”
According to research, those who work from home tend to report high levels of stress.
As confirmed by Dr Nishat Shams, a psychotherapist in the Ministry of Health, 41 per cent of employees who often worked from home considered themselves highly stressed, as opposed to 25 per cent of those who worked only on-site.
Dr Nishat said, “Employees who work from home might experience more of a blur and depression in personal life. Work from home employees might grapple more with the concept of unplugging and ending their workday as opposed to those who work in an office setting. When working from home, you might feel a lack of structure; you might struggle with getting your day going, formally ending your day, and taking time for breaks and lunch.”
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