With COVID-19 making it more challenging this year, 2020 has been a more trying year than ever. To mark International Stress Awareness Week, let's look at some ways technology continues to help us cope during this extraordinary time.
There's no easy way to put it — this year has been the most challenging year for most of us. Whether it's work or personal life, the unexpected pandemic made 2020 difficult: the sudden lockdown, the sudden shift to work from home, not to mention the various issues surrounding us today.
According to the International Stress Management Association UK (ISMA), almost one in five adults was likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in June 2020. In a survey conducted by wellness publication, Happiful, among their over 1,050 subscribers, one of the top causes of their stress is general work pressure, alongside family and relationship, and health.
If you're still feeling the stress brought about by seven months under COVID-19, here are three ways technology helps us get through and combat stress during this pandemic.
Connecting virtually through video call and chats
With most of us away from our loved ones and colleagues, technology has helped us communicate during this time, making us stay connected regardless of the global situation. Video calls and chats have become solace in this time of isolation when all we can do is connect virtually to socialize.
Work chats, aside from providing an easy and instant way to stay collaborative among work peers, also became a way for employees to reach out to their colleagues for small chats. At the same time, video calls became a platform, not just for virtual meetings. It also transitioned into virtual happy hours and remote team building, giving a more human touch to the way we socially connect online.
Joining online communities with like-minded people
Humans are social beings, and being in isolation can surely make one feel stressed. Being part of a community, albeit online, can also alleviate stress. Being a part of a group can make you feel a sense of belongingness. Others find their sense of purpose by also providing support to other people in these groups. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends connecting to a community- or faith-based organizations through online channels. Make connecting more fruitful, despite the lockdown by joining a topic-based forum so you can meet people who share the same interest as you while being safe indoors.
Some companies also take advantage of having social media plug-ins in their apps. Aside from getting better engagement with their users, they can also cultivate communities and provide an online platform for their users to engage with one another in a more interactive and richer way.
Staying zen through mental health apps and chatbots
Technology has also helped us cope with this stressful time through mental health apps and chatbots. These applications aim to help people increasingly become popular through guided meditation and breathing exercises to help alleviate mental fatigue.
Meanwhile, mental health chatbots are also becoming prevalent nowadays, especially to those who cannot access clinicians and specialists due to location, time, or budget constraints. In fact, chatbots trace its roots to ELIZA, one of the first chatbot implementations created in the 60s, designed to imitate a therapist. Decades later, AI-powered software has become more sophisticated and easily accessible. Backed by health care providers and academics, they are now used to provide engaging conversations to those who feel burned out, sad, or need someone to talk to. They can now also detect mood, allowing chatbots to provide therapeutic responses based on the user. Further, it also promises secure and private assistance to those who want to talk about their issues without being judged.