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Experts suggest ways to take care of your mental health.

With the number of cases rising each day, near and dear ones getting affected, and amid lockdowns, stress and anxiety are at an all-time high in the second wave of Covid 19. “The second wave is severe not just because of the toll it’s taking due to the huge population being affected but also because it suddenly came when everything seemed to be returning to normal. Vaccine felt like a respite but there are millions yet to be vaccinated and people still haven’t recovered from financial and personal losses,” Dr Jyoti Kapoor, senior psychiatrist and founder, Manasthali.

In a recently released insight by Practo in March 2021, most discussed concerns of women in non-metro cities included depression, anxiety and panic attacks while most discussed concerns of women in metro cities were stress, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, and mood disorders.

What is leading to mental health concerns?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives with our movements being restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus, as per WHO. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after not just physical health but mental health too.

In circumstances like these, how can people take care of their mental health? Here’s what mental health experts tell us.

Besides following Covid-appropriate behaviour, psychiatrist Dr Samir Parikh suggested that one must try and not “look into social media too much”. “Social support is the key – share and keep talking to people,” he said, while mentioning that one needs to keep a healthy lifestyle, have regular sleep, exercise, do yoga, do reading, listen to music and take multiple breaks.

The only way to manage stress in these times is to focus on living in the present, said Dr Kapoor.

*Avoid focusing on statistics that serve no purpose for the common man. All one needs to do is focus on their own self which means the same old stringent measures of wearing a mask and staying indoors.

Follow a disciplined routine. Discipline helps the brain to focus on the task at hand and not stray away into unnecessary negative thoughts.

*Pursue a creative activity. Even if work from home is taxing, find time to indulge in hobbies you enjoy. It takes away the stress of achieving results for work. The process itself induces happy chemicals.

*Exercise releases endorphins which are natural pain killers. It also gives a sense of accomplishment while keeping us physically fit and improving immunity.

*Adequate sleep and sleep-wake patterns allow for the balance of neurochemicals to be restored so the emotional exhaustion and burnout is low.

*Healthy diet is always important to improve physical and psychological stress tolerance.

*Connect with family and friends. Don’t get into the same old Corona-related speculations; talk about other things like sports, science, universe.

*Read whatever interests you, go beyond the newspaper; there is so much to choose from.

*Focus on all the things we still have. Sooner or later, things will change. We have a better understanding of diseases today than we ever had. Patience is a good virtue to learn today and forever.

*”Last but not least- be grateful. We will survive and in the process will also build a better world. So many things are changing for good,” said Dr Kapoor.

Finding it difficult to sleep?

According to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a third of Americans are sleeping worse than they did before the pandemic. About 30 percent say they have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. One in five also say they’ve experienced more disturbing dreams during the pandemic. This so-called COVID-somnia” can be brought on by fears about the coronavirus, concern for our loved ones, economic worries, and limited social contact, said Dr Malik Merchant, consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.

Some Factors that affect the amount and quality of sleep

-increased stress and anxiety

-an uptick in screen time

-lack of exercise

-increase in the use of tobacco and alcohol


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COVID-19 Impact On Health Supply Chain

Before the imposition of the strict lockdowns and the spread of COVID-19, the disruptions in China caused a ripple effect on the global supply chains. Emphasis has been laid on minimisation of costs and timely delivery of essential products.

In India, as the situation worsens due to the outbreak, we have seen disruptions in the logistics supply chain. There are several reasons attributed to the increase in demand and slowing of the supply. There are several workable solutions available to look into this situation. We should work towards promoting Indian markets and amend policies to help the local workforce lessen the inter-dependencies of imports on other countries. This will help in strengthening the logistics supply chain in India. This will create employment opportunities and increase the GDP growth.

Logistics is the backbone of an economy, as it ensures free flow of goods and services required for the functioning of industries and the economy. India’s logistics sector is rapidly evolving despite facing enormous challenges (PYMNTS, 2020). Inadequate logistics infrastructure has created several bottlenecks in the growth of the economy. The biggest challenge faced by the Indian industry today is the lack of integration of transport, distribution of warehouses, different regulations imposed at the national, state and district levels and trained and efficient workforce’s. This makes the sector unorganized. Today, we are facing an unprecedented crisis which has made us look into the vulnerabilities of our logistics supply chain.

The Chinese economy is the manufacturing powerhouse and is also known as the world’s factory. One can see its products everywhere, with the label ‘Made in China’. Therefore, China being the epicenter of COVID-19, it went under a lock down and extensive measures were put into action quite early, causing supply from the manufacturing facilities being reduced, affecting the exports from China and imports to the other countries. Before this pandemic, China used to produce half the world’s masks. However, as the infection rate in China increased, the systems of manufacturing came to a halt. Now that the infection rate has slowed in China, it has started exporting products to all over the world. The problem that remains is of the substandard products being shipped to countries worldwide.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, it has exposed vulnerabilities of supply chains and logistics. It has disrupted health supply chains, affecting active pharmaceutical ingredients, shipping, procurement’s, finished healthcare products and more.

Logistics supply chain means much more than the movement of pharmaceuticals and other products between countries. It definitely deals with problems at the grassroots level, including the migration of labourers working in industrial units, ban on transportation activities, especially trucks, lack of cooperation between different administrations and transporters and couriers not functioning timely. All these factors cause delays and hamper the supply chain, causing issues in supplies of vaccines, hand sanitizers, testing kits, protective healthcare equipment (PPE), medicines, medical equipment, raw material and much more.

While things are still better in metro cities, the situation remains grim in the districts. Trucks carrying coal are not allowed to pass through borders, and the suspension of flight services has led to goods being stuck in different corners of the country. This has primarily affected chemists and eco-retailers in distributing products to the community.

Moreover, the World Health Organization reported that serious and escalating damage to the global supply of PPE, N95, sanitisers and testing kits is triggered by rising competition, panic purchasing, hoarding and abuse, which is placing lives at risk from the latest coronavirus and other infectious diseases. An approximate 89 million medical masks are required per month for combating COVID-19, based on WHO modelling. The number goes up to 76 million for examination gloves, while overseas demand for goggles is 1.6 million a month.

Many companies across the globe are working to make their supply chain leaner. Their emphasis on minimisation of costs and timely deliveries has left no room for adequate buffers and has led to a reduction in the inventory buffers. These situations have worsened the impact on the supply chains, exposing the fragility of logistics management.