Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Couples in Quarantine: Stress, Anxiety, Fear of the Unknown

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quarantine relationships
Amid the lockdown, family members have united and are spending time with each other. This has improved relationships. Pixabay

With all the havoc it’s wreaking across the globe, the coronavirus outbreak is naturally having an impact on couples and their relationships. Family therapists are conducting sessions remotely as patients are confined to their homes.

They say even the most subtle differences in temperament can be aggravated because of the outbreak’s stress. It’s a time when every domestic decision can seem to have impossibly high stakes, from going to the grocery store to deciding who gets quarantined together.

The 60-something husband works in the food industry and still insists upon leaving every day for work, saying he needs to keep his business afloat. His frightened wife desperately wants him to stay home.

For another couple, in the midst of a separation, the bitterly fought issue is the kids and whether they can safely see friends. One parent is allowing it in an effort to be the “fun parent”; the other bitterly opposes it.

And for still another couple, it’s simply about grocery shopping. She fills the cart, and he accuses her of hoarding unnecessarily. She argues that they need to be prepared.

Scenarios like these are playing out in urban high-rises, suburban homes and tiny rural communities across America as couples try to navigate what has abruptly become the “new normal” during the coronavirus outbreak. Described by therapists, lawyers or the couples themselves, they reveal how even the most subtle differences in temperament or coping strategy can be painfully exacerbated under the incredible stress and anxiety that the outbreak is causing.

quarantine relationships
With all the havoc it’s wreaking across the globe, the coronavirus outbreak is naturally having an impact on couples and their relationships. Pixabay

It’s a time when every domestic decision can seem to have impossibly high stakes, says Catherine Lewis, therapist and faculty member at Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York, from the seemingly small — whether to go grocery shopping — to the fraught calculus of which family members should isolate together.

“This pandemic is making us all think about our relationships, because you really cannot do one thing without it impacting somebody else,,” says Lewis, who’s been conducting therapy sessions remotely. “It’s such a powerful example of how interconnected we all are.”

Added to that, Lewis notes, is the utter helplessness of having no idea how long the situation will last.

She does see some couples finding “that they have a wild capacity to be resilient, to just find a way to move through the day.” On the negative side, it’s clear that people are generally not at their best when under deep stress.

“Normal patterns are intensified,” she says. “There’s increased annoyance, people snapping.”  

Alcohol can become a more frequent coping mechanism. Or worse.

“I’m worried about couples where there is intense aggression,” she says. In cases where there was already domestic abuse, advocates fear a dangerous escalation.

Jennifer Kouzi, a divorce lawyer and mediator, puts it bluntly: “We’re seeing a lot more bad behavior.”

In many cases, there may be no ramifications for bad behavior. One parent, for example, has refused to turn over a child to the other in accordance with their agreement, citing the virus crisis, even though the other parent is taking every precaution. Police have refused to enforce the custody order and recommended the parent go to court, but it’s unclear if judges will deem the case an emergency. In another case Kouzi is aware of involving a separated couple, one parent is allowing their kids to go see friends, “to be the fun parent, so the kids will want to stay there full-time instead of with the parent actually following recommendations and guidelines.” It’s not all grim.

“Some parents have actually risen to the occasion and are communicating better than normal, rearranging schedules and increasing FaceTime access and doing what makes sense” for their kids, she says.

Kouzi, who practices in both New York and in Westchester County, one of its suburbs, is telling her clients to try to use the time productively or to consider mediation.

“There will be such a backlog when courts open up again,” she says.

Some couples are experiencing only minor ripples, if any. Stephanie Pfeiffer, a business systems analyst in Boston, found herself annoyed with her husband when they went food shopping last week, and each time she put something into the cart — two pounds of butter, cans of tuna or tomato soup, a box of crackers — he questioned why.

 

“It’s been like most days,” she reported last week, “except that my husband is leaving dirty dishes and I get to clean up after him, too.” She joked that her spouse had made the mistake of coming down at one point to chat, “and I handed him a baby to put down for a nap. He hasn’t come down since!”

quarantine relationships
A couple bored with the government-required national isolation at home due to the spreading coronavirus, sits in the 5th floor apartment window on a sunny spring day in downtown Warsaw. VOA

Adrienne Pattison, who lives in a rural area of Washington state, joined a Facebook group called “Parenting Under Quarantine” a week ago and wrote: “Is it just me or is anyone else totally frustrated with the husband/partner or whatever?? I’m about to go postal!” Her good-natured venting elicited more than 160 comments and anecdotes.

Maggie Hellman, the Bergenfield, New Jersey, mother who created the Facebook group for her friends to blow off their own steam — she never thought it would balloon to over 20,000 — notes that some couples are, of course, dealing with gravely serious challenges. Her brother, a pediatric intensive care physician, has to come home through a side door to discard dirty clothing and wash his hands to avoid infecting the family. His wife, a nurse, must be extremely careful as well.

Hellman, a social worker and stay-at-home mom, says it’s natural that couples with children are feeling intense stress.

“Children create stress in a marriage, period,” she says. “The relationship changes dramatically.” Under current conditions, she says, “you’re stuck at home all day with each other when perhaps there already were issues.” She imagines that single parents have it even worse, especially if they have only one child.
“They get no break, they have no one else to be with,” she says.

Also Read- Portal TV Video Chat Device By Facebook gets Sold Out on Online Platforms

Lewis, the family therapist, says it’s still early days. She hopes the couples she treats will find a way to deal with the anxiety and uncertainty in a useful way.

Some of her best advice to couples: “Let’s try not to both have a bad day at the same time,” she says. “If today’s your bad day, mine is tomorrow. Let’s not blow at the same time.” (VOA)

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Amid Lockdown Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom Entertain & Empower Many

Amazon Web Services driven, Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu and Zoom keep people busy during the lockdown

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AWS driving Netflix, Fortnite, Zoom entertain and empower millions at home during lockdown. Pixabay

As you stream your favourite movies or TV series on Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu, or connect with your team via video meet app Zoom, leading Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the backdrop is ensuring seamless, scalable and secure connectivity to help people at home and organisations function while they can’t operate normally at work.

According to AWS CEO Andy Jassy, a lot of things that are allowing humanity to deal with the global health crisis run on top of AWS which is Amazon’s Cloud arm and topped $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the January-March period.

“We’re just trying to help our customers in various areas. If you look at Netflix, it runs completely on top of AWS. So does Disney Plus. Hulu runs on AWS. Prime Video runs on AWS. All those entertainment pieces have kind of made time go by,” Jassy said during a fireside chat at AWS Online Summit recently.

“Fortnite runs on top of AWS, and so does Sony PlayStation. A lot of other popular games too,” he informed. The popular Battle Royale game Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game.

Netflix
Netflix and other platforms keeping people sane in lockdown. Pixabay

According to Jassy, AWS has its own video-conferencing service in Chime. “But a lot of people use Zoom, and the vast majority of Zoom’s cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future,” he said. Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.

 

If you have kids at home, you also realise they’re all doing e-learning at the moment. “If you just look at companies like Blackboard and Instructure’s Canvas, which run on top of AWS. A lot of the things that are allowing us to deal with the crisis run on top of AWS. So we’re just trying to help our customers in various areas,” Jassy emphasised. AWS today offers 15 purpose-built database engines including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases.

“We have an unmatched number of those purpose-built databases that people are getting real value from and are changing the way they build applications. So (for us), it’s just the way that people are rethinking how they build in this unprecedented era of data growth,” informed Jassy. It is interesting to see how manufacturing and industrial organisations are changing in these Covid-19 times.

“In these industrial organizations, they have all of these assets that function in their facilities and their factories, and they collect really important data. And today they’re largely sending that data, through AWS IoT, to the cloud to store it and to analyze it,” said Jassy. Amazon AWS IoT has done well in terms of completeness benefiting from a robust Cloud IoT and Application Enablement capabilities. Further, AWS has been building its edge capabilities via AWS Greengrass.

fortnite
Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game. Pixabay

AWS has grown into a behemoth in itself, raking in $10 billion in sales in the first quarter this year, with a super annual run rate of more than $40 billion. The cloud computing service logged $10.2 billion in sales in the March quarter, up from $7.7 billion from the year-ago quarter – a growth rate of 33 per cent.

Also Read: Thousands of Australians Get Killed Each Year Due To Heat: Study

According to Amazon, AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. (IANS)

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Curate These Alpines Dishes Easily At Home

Here are the top easy to make recipes from the alpine nation Switzerland with ingredients available in your kitchen, amid lockdown

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Alpine dishes
Make recipes from the alpine nation Switzerland with ingredients available in your kitchen. Pixabay

As we face restrictions on global travel across the world, it is most natural for us to “Dream Now Travel Later”. To get you closer to those dreams, why not whip up some cuisine from the various kitchen’s of around the globe for an authentic taste of a country while in quarantine? It is a good idea to travel through world cuisine to get a taste of your most loved destination.

Here are the top easy to make recipes from the alpine nation Switzerland with ingredients available in our kitchen.

Alpine Macaroni

Known to the Swiss as Alplermagrone, is the ultimate comfort food one can find on the slopes of the famous Alps. This dish is found everywhere on restaurant menus from Appenzell to Zermatt, through Lugano and St. Moritz.

This Swiss version of Macaroni and cheese is best eaten after a long hike or trek, as most Swiss will tell you, it tastes better when you’ve earned it. But staying at home- keeping yourself and others away from harm’s way, it is safe to say that we have earned it. The ingredients for this wholesome dish are all simple and can be found easily in our pantry. Some vegetables, pasta and decent cheese, are the only things that you will need to re-create this alpine dish in the kitchen.

Alpine dishes
Some vegetables, pasta and decent cheese, are the only things that you will need to re-create this alpine dish in the kitchen. Pixabay

Cheese Fondue

If you have your air conditioners on then this taste of Switzerland is just right for you. Indulge in some fondue, a generous dose of creamy cheese with the pieces of bread just like the Swiss do. The country is known for its best fondues, however, there are many different styles and versions. One of the best variations is the Fribourg, the moitie-moitie, made from spicy Gruy�res and softly melting Vacherin cheeses.

It’s great for a Saturday night cheat meal? Melt up the cheese and serve it with vegetables, lavash, croutons and potato wedges, giving it an interesting twist while you binge watch on your favourite shows.

Rosti

Also known as “Rostigraben” (Rosti ditch), originally a farmers’ breakfast from German-speaking Switzerland, is now a Swiss national dish with each region having its own version. The Bernese, for example, are known for their crispy Rosti fried in butter.

Dish
Melt up the cheese and serve it with vegetables, lavash, croutons and potato wedges, giving it an interesting twist while you binge watch on your favorite shows. Pixabay

This classic comfort food is surprisingly easy to make, with some tricks along the way, and it turns potatoes into a main meal. The recipe can be summarized in five words: grate potatoes sauteed in butter. The resulting dish is a pancake of potato, crispy brown on the outside, gooey, buttery, potato-licious inside. This is a dish that is easy-peasy to create in your kitchens for a lazy Sunday brunch.

Also Read: Amid These Troubled times Luxury Brands make Rainbow A Symbol of Hope

Meringue

A sweet kiss with egg whites and a sugary pastry invented around the year 1600. Since the delicate and airy pastry made from egg whites and the thick battered Gruyeres cream complement each other so well, one easily understands why Meringue is a favorite dessert in the land of Fribourg. You can enjoy your meringue in two ways one slowly baked, transforming into crisp cookies or as dessert on top of a cake. (IANS)

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Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

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social media
Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

Social Media
There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

Social media
Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)