Distress and De-stress towards the Virtual Setting
Stress is often stated during school works, jobs, and other factors such as conflicts in life and so on. The word stress is mostly associated with negative aspects, with its definition of emotional or mental strain due to tension or pressure exerted. Some may assume that it is a negative factor because of its description. In reality, stress is a normal response of the body towards changes due to different demands. Stress is identified in two classifications.
Eustress and Distress
Eustress and distress are the two categories under stress. Eustress is identified as a mental stressor that is highly associated with positive and health benefits. It is mostly referred to as good stress in terms of stress. In contrast to eustress, distress is the negative stressor that causes concern or anxiety that can lead to mental and physical problems which can affect the normal functioning of an individual.
How stress affects the brain?
Exposure to severe stress will not only alter an individual’s performance but it also influences the brain structure and functions specific to the hippocampus. Hippocampus is part of the limbic system that plays a vital role in the formation of new memories such as learning. Under human and animal studies, uncontrollable stress hinders the activity of the hippocampus. Impairments of hippocampal-dependent memory tasks may occur. Thus, shrinkage of hippocampal and brain volume will be involved due to stress. Studies of McEwen et al. (2009) have shown that in the hippocampus of a person with chronic stress that shrinkage of dendrites, dentate gyrus neurons, and loss of spine neurons can occur.
Stress During the Pandemic
In today’s setting with the on-going pandemic of COVID-19, stress is one factor given with the situation. Due to the life-threatening situation, the risk of mental health concerns may develop. Reports of distress, anxiety, and depression had increased because of this occurrence. With the disruption of the normal life function of people, this creates an effect of emotional reactions that can be a form of distress.
Distress and De-stress
Distress might be known as the negative stress that can fluctuate an individual’s health both emotionally and physically but the word “de-stress” differs from it. De-stress is a way of decreasing stress levels. In a way, it is classified as relaxation to release mental tension.
Ways to De-stress in the virtual setting
The transition of traditional into a virtual setting as the classes and work start because of the pandemic takes a toll in ways of coping. Due to the new setting, managing might be a bit difficult because of the improper transition of change. With the continuous alarming case and as well as the increased distress and mental health problems, the World Health Organization (2020) stated different coping techniques to eliminate stress in this occurrence. The following are the list of coping techniques given by WHO:
- Stay connected with your friends and family. During the pandemic, feeling a variety of emotions such as unhappy, angry, stressed, and scared is normal reactions because of the disturbance of the normal life. By being connected with your friends, significant other, and family can ease negative emotions as you expressed yourself. Thus, it can also provide comfort to both parties as you help one another.
- Build a routine. As home quarantine being implemented, the daily routine before an individual is interrupted due to the new normal setting. In this case, it is highly encouraged to create a new routine to adapt to the new setting. It is also a possible way of creating a healthy lifestyle to ensure proper health or to draw a skill.
- Set a specific time to see the media coverage. With this in mind, it will limit the chances of worry and agitation since the media can be overwhelming specifically during this pandemic. Although the goal is to eliminate media coverage, this does not mean to remove and stay outdated about the news. By setting a specific time, it will lessen the feeling of agitation and anxiety to avoid being overwhelmed.
- If things are too overwhelming, seek help. Needing professional help is not a sign of weakness but rather an action of courage. Talking to a professional physician will help you with your mental and physical health. As the director of the World Health Organization stated, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus quoted “there is no health without mental health”. Mental health is as important as your physical health, keep in mind that asking for help is never wrong.
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