The outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 has affected people in varying ways. It is understandable that during times like this, people may feel afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.
While it is important to stay informed, the following are some mental health and wellbeing tips and strategies to continue looking after ourselves and each other during these hard times. Manage your exposure to media coverage as this can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Be mindful of sources of information and ensure you are accessing quality and accurate information.
Follow a “calm yet cautious” approach – do you best to remain calm and be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to positively manage the outbreak. Ensure you are following directives issued by the government, medical advice and observe agreeable hygiene habits.
Show compassion and kindness to one another – these times of fear, physical and social isolation, uncertainty is when it is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Remind ourselves that we can manage this much better together in solidarity, and that COVID-19 does not discriminate – it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity.
Actively manage your wellbeing by maintaining routines where possible, connect with family and friends, staying physically active, eating nutritious foods and seeking additional support by contacting professional support as required.
Going into a period of social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine may feel overwhelming, and can contribute to feelings of helplessness and fear. Besides the above, we encourage the following:
- Perspective – try to see this time as different, not necessarily bad, even if it something you did not choose
- Connection – think of creative ways to stay connected with others, including social media, email and phone
- Be generous to others – giving to others in times of need not only helps the recipient, it enhances your wellbeing too. Is there a way to help others around you?
- Stay connected with your values. Do not let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others. We are all in this together!
- Daily routine – create a routine that prioritizes things you enjoy and even things you have been meaning to do but have not had enough time. Read that book, watch that show, take up that new hobby.
- Try to see this as an unusual period that might even have some benefits.
- Limit your exposure to news and media. Perhaps choose specific times of day when you will get updates and ensure they are from reputable and reliable sources.
If there is someone you think may struggle through social isolation, it is important to reach out to them and let them know you care:
- Call them to check on their welfare
- Send an email
- Leave a note under their door
- Do not underestimate the power you offer to hope to another person.