How are you doing? It’s a question that has become ubiquitous in our daily interactions with people. It’s simply a polite thing to ask and an impolite thing to answer sincerely. In the age of COVID-19, though, it has regained a bit of its meaning as an honest question that warrants honest answers.
Listen: How to maintain your mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Arash Javanbakht is an associate professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University and the director of Wayne State’s Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic. He says there are multiple factors that contribute to stress, all of which are present in the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the rapid transition and change in lifestyle has made the already traumatic situation more stressful for many. He adds that all the unknowns around the virus can also create stress. “There’s also a lot of uncertainty. Uncertainty always makes any difficult situation even more difficult,” says Javanbakht.
Javanbakht says limiting negative news intake and checking in on friends can really help mental health. He says that friends can learn coping skills together, easing stress.
“If I am happy, if I am doing well, share it with others. Call a friend and be encouraging, even lend some money if someone needs it. If I don’t have happiness, I can’t share it with others,” says Javanbakht.