Lift giving you a sinking feeling?It’s Covid19-era elevator anxiety
Given everything we know about how the virus spreads, it’s no wonder that the idea of using a lift is causing symptoms once restricted to those with phobias.
As the world returns to airports, offices and malls, the elevator must make a comeback too. For some, this is triggering elevator anxiety — feelings of breathlessness, dizziness and weakness in the knees generally seen in those with claustrophobia, acrophobia or generalised anxiety disorder.
“The fear of contracting the virus has manifested in different ways and this is one,” says clinical psychologist Dr Seema Hingorrany.
Given how Covid-19 spreads — through droplets and aerosols circulated in the air — and given the evidence that it is rendered more contagious in poorly ventilated, small spaces, the fear of the box-like elevator is understandable. Additionally, it’s often hard to maintain social distancing in one.
For those who must take an elevator ride, wait till there are no more than three other people in it. That way , each gets a corner and be as distanced as possible. (For smaller elevators, aim for you and just one other person.)
Once in, stay in the corner, mask on properly, face away from fellow lift riders, and carry toothpicks so as to not to have to touch the buttons.
Innovators are alleviating some of the anxiety by creating touch-less lift experiences too. In Gujarat, a software engineer has created a lift panel that lets users select their floor by pointing at a button from a distance. Bhavin Ahir, founder of TechMax Solution, has called it Sparshless (sparsh is touch in Sanskrit). Elsewhere around the world, lift buttons have been swapped for foot pedals. Voice-activated lift controls are also in the works.
As for the fear, Dr Hingorrany recommends that people put their gear on, do it right, and then: “Breathe.”
Whenever possible, of course, just take the stairs — it’s better for overall health anyway.