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Feeling Blue? COVID Blues
By Jeong Hyo-bin Reporter, Junior of Chemical and Biological Engineering
As COVID-19 is having a prolonged presence, there have been many changes to our daily lives. We have become more fearful of infection by COVID-19. Because of the social distancing policy, to prevent community infection, we can’t attend occasions or meetings that are crowded with people. As the constraints of everyday life grow, we can’t live like before COVID-19, and many people feel blue. This situation is called the COVID-19 blues.
COVID-19 blues is a neologism combining “COVID-19” and “blues” which means depression. In a sudden disaster like COVID-19, there are many cases where people become restless, fearful, and suffer mental shock. Examples of COVID-19 blues include feeling dullness caused by staying indoors while refraining from outdoor activities, anxiety that they might be infected with COVID-19, feeling lethargy as activity restrictions continue, and excessive obsession with infectious disease-related information and news.
In early 2020, when COVID-19 began to spread in Korea, people were obsessed with home-based activities, such as making dalgona coffee by stirring it 4,000 times and souffles made by stirring over 10,000 times. It’s normally a hassle to stir anything 4,000 to 10,000 times, but many people tried to relieve their frustration because they couldn’t go out and had to find small fun inside. As the restrictions on activities continued, due to the prolonged COVID-19 spread, the government held a contest to find new ideas for people to do in their homes. The contest was called Jeuljipso, which means our joyful stay home game. It was a contest in which people of all ages could participate to overcome the dullness.
To prevent and survive COVID-19 blues, it is most important to maintain the rhythm of life, such as regular sleep and wake-up times. By following the rules of hygiene (handwashing, wearing masks, etc.), we can lower our concerns about infection.
If you are concerned about infection, it is effective to be immersed in everyday life to forget the anxiety. By asking people around you how they are doing, it is possible to immerse yourself in daily life. Also, during a pandemic, it is so common to feel anxiety. Therefore, release the idea that anxiety should be eliminated quickly and accept it as it is, you will feel more comfortable. It is helpful to relieve anxiety by following recommendations and information from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) without being misled by exaggerated information.
We can overcome our lethargy with light exercise rather than stopping all activity. Outdoor activities are less likely to be places where COVID-19 can spread. Short walks at midnight or going on a drive are good examples of ways to keep active. Also, we can do exercise by watching home training videos, do squats 30 times, cook new dishes, and water plants. Setting and practicing simple goals lets us feel fulfillment and is a good solution to overcome lethargy.
Currently, public health centers, mental health welfare centers, and local governments are consulting on Corona Blue nationwide under the name of Integrated Psychological Support Group. There are supporting psychological prevention of epidemics services, consultations, and psychological cure services. In addition, many companies are creating opportunities for consultation, and local governments are allowing citizens to enjoy cultural life while maintaining social distancing, such as running drive-in theaters. In order to minimize prejudice and disgust of confirmed cases, the government should also organize campaigns to inform the public that they don’t need to avoid or ostracize those who have recovered from the infection.
As COVID-19 continues, people may also suffer COVID-19 red, a feeling of anger beyond melancholy, and COVID-19 black which is beyond the melancholy level into a gloomy situation. Let’s not just think that it’s hard to stay at home, but that it’s an opportunity to spend more time with your family and find new hobbies. It is not only important to end the spread of COVID-19, we need to take care of our mental and emotional health, too.