Infectolab - mental health during lockdown

6 Ways To Naturally Improve Your Mental Health During Lockdown

Taking care of your mental health is an important part of overall health, even in the best of circumstances. During times of high stress, the decline of overall mental health can occur and leave a person feeling both mentally and physically ill. The rise of mental health conditions in the last 20 years has been significant, especially in young adults and adolescents. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 25% of people will suffer from some form of mental disorder during their lifetime. 

Due to the state of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is at the top of the health priority list because of the added anxiety and worry. Many people will be plagued with worry over the health of themselves and their loved ones, unemployment and job loss, and routine changes that could lead to worsening depression or anxiety. Taking care of yourself during a global pandemic may pose its own difficulties, but there are ways to stay on top of things so your mental health doesn’t suffer.

Ways to protect your mental health during COVID-19

There are ways you can ensure that your mental health is at its best when dealing with the onset of stress caused by the current goings-on. If you were suffering from depression or anxiety prior to the onset of the pandemic, it is even more important to stay on top of things.

The following are tips and helpful ways to help you manage mental illness symptoms or avoid the onset of new ones while the pandemic and lockdown are still in effect.

1. Focusing on things you can control

Although there is no way to completely avoid the virus or the risks that come with contracting it, taking extra precautions can go a long way when managing your mental health. Following guidelines such as maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask in public areas or when around large groups of people, washing your hands, and disinfecting surfaces that are touched most often can all go a long way in the battle against worsening symptoms of depression or anxiety.

2. Avoid binging whenever possible

Any form of binging is likely to worsen mental health symptoms – including binging the news. In today’s technologically advanced world, avoiding the current headlines can be tough. When things are constantly shared on social media sites and reports of updates on the virus are continuously being thrown at you, taking little breaks from being exposed to the information can be a great help. Staying off social media for the majority of the day and watching or reading something other than news can help curb extensive worry that may lead to the worsening of mental illness symptoms.

Other things like substance abuse and binge-drinking, binging too many television shows on a streaming service, or eating junk food excessively can all be harmful in the fight towards good mental health.

Infectolab - watching tv
Image by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash: Overindulging in things like Netflix and junk food can lead to a decline in mental health, studies have shown.

3. Exercise and eat right

Many studies have shown that diet and exercise can impact recovery from mental illness in a significant way. Eating a diet rich in wholefoods, fruits and vegetables, while avoiding heavily processed and ‘junk’ foods, can lead to the body being healthy, which helps encourage a healthy mind. Due to the mind-gut connection, giving your body the nutrients it needs will greatly help in the management of symptoms.

Exercise has also been shown to improve both depression and anxiety for a few reasons. Exercise increases body temperature all over, including the brain stem. When the temperature of that region of the brain is heightened, it relieves tension, thus reducing symptoms of anxiety. Exercise can also lead the production and release of endorphins, the chemical that causes feelings of happiness. It can also help neurotransmission throughout the brain, which is generally negatively affected by the imbalance of chemicals caused by depression.

Another great way exercise can help with depression and anxiety during lockdown is by distracting you from what’s going on. It’s a great way to pass time and can help you focus on one task at a time.  You can give yourself plenty of exercise by (safely) getting out into nature for walks or hikes, investing in home workout plans, and going for socially distanced walks around your neighborhood. The exercise doesn’t have to be extensive, but should be done for at least an hour a day.

4. Focus on sleep and relaxation

Getting a solid night’s sleep is important all the time, but it’s especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping the same sleeping schedule regardless of whether or not you need to get up for work in the morning is the best bet in ensuring you get the right amount of restful sleep required for mental health and alertness throughout the day.

Investing in a good meditation program can help with relaxation, and studies have shown that it can also encourage more restful sleep. Other ways to relax include reading a good book, watching your favorite television program (without going overboard on hours watched), or rediscovering hobbies that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Yoga can also be a great way to relax, and many free yoga classes can be found online.

Infectolab - sleep
Image by Bruce Mars on Unsplash: Is there a way to naturally improve your mental health? Getting enough sleep is a great method.

5. Stay connected

Being on lockdown can be hard, especially for people who live alone. This disconnection can cause feelings of isolation or loneliness that wouldn’t occur if life were “normal”. To stay connected with friends and family, having set days for phone calls or video chats could be a great help. Although it’s not the same as direct human contact, staying connected with loved ones is a surefire way to feel less lonely during the COVID-19 lockdown.

6. Seek help if it becomes too much

If the lockdown becomes too much, staying in contact with your doctor can help alleviate symptoms. If the symptoms you feel worsen and you can’t get in touch with your doctor, there are many helplines and resources that you can access for help.

Image by Diego San on Unsplash

Infectolab - COVID-19 testing

COVID-19: How To Monitor, Test & Manage Employees Once Lockdown Ends

The COVID-19 threat isn’t gone from communities, but lockdown measures have significantly slowed the spread of the virus, meaning businesses have begun opening their doors. When employers do start to open up, though, they need to put into place new practices to ensure that both employees and customers remain safe and healthy.

Employers will need to implement new testing measures, such as Infectolab’s COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The PCR test is designed to confirm whether or not a person has contracted COVID-19, and can help employers limit contact with employees that test positive.

The downfalls of reopening the economy

Many people are anxious for the economy to reopen and for life to go back to normal. But following the spread of COVID-19, a new normal is to be expected so that a second dangerous wave doesn’t hit the communities that have fought so hard to slow the spread. If businesses begin to open prior to proper testing being available, it could spell a whole new level of disaster.

Certain parts of the world have been at a standstill and businesses have been forced to lay off thousands of employees. Some have even been forced to close their doors for good because of the direct hit their books have taken due to the widespread closures. This makes it even more important for businesses to ensure the proper procedures are taking place, because if another lockdown is needed, they may be forced to shut down all over again.

Infectolab - serology testing
Image by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash: Serology testing is accurate in the long run, but is best in combination with a PCR test as a way for employers to test for live infection.

The faults in COVID-19 testing

There are many obstacles involved in creating accurate testing procedures for COVID-19. Aside from numbers being affected by late testing or no testing of those who are infected but remain asymptomatic, the challenges many organizations and medical centers face is the level of accuracy of tests. Some tests are more accurate than others, but involve longer wait times for results and are often more expensive.

Serology testing, for example, is more accurate in finding out whether or not a person had the virus at some time in the past, as opposed to whether or not they are currently infected. A serology test detects antibodies created in response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This means that a person can be recovered from the virus and still test positive for its antibodies.

This type of test won’t be the first line of defense for managers, though, because it takes too long to return results and doesn’t detect active infections quickly enough.  

Will employee antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus be available?

There are several types of tests used to confirm a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. The PCR test mentioned above looks for the RNA of the virus itself, and is most effective a few days following the onset of symptoms. The antibody test is designed to look for antibodies following the onset of symptoms and the infection. These tests are more generally used to gather data on numbers within communities, and not typically used to diagnose a current viral infection.

An antigen test also won’t be used as a first line of defense, because it is not as accurate as the PCR test. Instead, it will be used as a preemptive way to know if a person needs a PCR test. An antigen test does produce quick results, but is not as reliable as a PCR test, thus it acts as a screen rather than a definitive diagnosis.  

Testing employees for COVID-19 when lockdown measures have eased

Working from home has been encouraged for whichever businesses can do so, but for many, it’s just not a feasible option. So when the lockdown measures begin to ease and businesses begin to open, employers will need a surefire way to slow the spread by testing employees as they return to work and if they start to show symptoms.

PCR testing will be available for employers so they can ensure that no one slips through the cracks, and that their businesses and employees stay safe and healthy while the economy readjusts to these new times. Employers will need to ensure rigorous testing for employees is done on a regular basis, and as quickly as possible whenever a case is suspected.

Infectolab - mask
Image by Hanson Lu on Unsplash: Social distancing measures will still need to take place as businesses begin reopening their doors.

How to manage employees during coronavirus restrictions and reopenings

Getting the right tests for employees is the first step for managers and business owners in reopening their doors the safest way possible. The new PCR and serology monitoring tests designed by Infectolab will be a great way to help monitor all employees who may have come into contact with the virus or are presenting with symptoms.

Working together with employees, managers, and the public will help to keep the economy opening, while also keeping cases of SARS-CoV-2 down.

Featured image by CDC on Unsplash

Infectolab - SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

How Serology Testing For SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Could Lead To A Prophylactic For First Line Responders

Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the first step in slowing the spread of the virus has been containment. Agencies and governments across the world limited or halted all travel, and quarantined or put areas in lockdown where the virus was found to be spreading. This practice of containment doesn’t work across the board, however – more needs to be done.

Continue reading “How Serology Testing For SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Could Lead To A Prophylactic For First Line Responders”
Infectolab - SARS-CoV-2

How Do People Know They’ve Been Exposed To SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus If They’re Asymptomatic?

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic spanning the globe picked up speed extremely quickly. In just a few short months, the virus spread from its suspected origin China to over 185 countries in the world. COVID-19 is a part of the coronavirus family, which includes both SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome). However, COVID-19 has spread exponentially in comparison to both SARS and MERS, both of which had worldwide cases less than 10,000.

Continue reading “How Do People Know They’ve Been Exposed To SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus If They’re Asymptomatic?”