Below are three of the main ones we can expect to face:
1. PTSD from quarantine
Before most of the world went into lockdown, the Lancet conducted a review on the psychological impact of quarantine and found post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger.
It isn’t just about having to stay in and work from home. Suddenly, we have to navigate our relationships with those we share our spaces with, and with ourselves. These are things that many people have been dealing with only at a wary distance or even actively running away from, but now it’s exploding in our faces.
While it’s easy to rationalise and thus bypass our feelings, the truth is, unprecedented times mean unprecedented larger-scale discomfort. That’s OK. We need to remember to ask ourselves: “What can I do to take care of myself, right now?”
2. Invisible burnout
We’re not used to working from home. Some of us have zero desks, and suddenly we have to share space with boisterous children home-schooling too? Add cramped spaces, and it is hell.
The next phase of COVID-19 will involve a spike in burnout. Already, many people have experienced their bosses expecting them to work even harder now that they’re working from home and across multiple time zones.
We cannot expect ourselves to simply “get up and go” and instantly adapt to this new work-from-home setup. Endless Zoom calls and increasing expectations, coupled with the pressure to work harder lest we lose our jobs, has already led to burnout.
So we need to create decompression time between home and work, such as walking at the end of the workday. Try not to get sucked into working longer just because the computer’s there.
3. Financial stress
Coupled with the pandemic, some experts foresee we’ll be faced with a recession worse than the Great Depression. This does not mean giving up. Instead, it means we’ll need to learn to master our financial stress because chronic stress will debilitate you physically and mentally.
Losing your job doesn’t mean you will never work again. Instead, you can help you stave off some of the stress and anxiety that can come from professional hardship and allow you to pivot to thinking about next steps: “So, what would you do in these six months to make sure you get there?”
By recognising the signs of these coming mental health challenges now, we can start to address them before they hit us full-throttle. Are you OK?