Staying Psychologically Healthy during COVID-19
Updated: Apr 7, 2020
During this COVID-19 Pandemic, people are advised to be socially responsible, and being socially responsible include practising safe distancing, to stay home, and to reduced going out unless it is necessary.
Whether you are on a stay-home-notice, or you choose to stay home because of social responsibility, you may experience a sense of loneliness and isolation. While WhatsApp and social media help you to stay connected virtually, there might still be a sense of void and boredom from staying in isolation.
The following are several ideas for you to keep up your mental wellness as you stay home:
1. Stay informed: Staying up to date on the latest advice and health information may give you an edge when it comes to protecting your mental health. However, there needs to be a balance between staying informed and feeding your anxiety. Limit reading the news and virus updates on social media to about twice a day. Please read only news that comes from a reliable source such as gov.sg, Straits Times and Channel News Asia. Refrain from forwarding reports from an unreliable source, which would only increase in you and the recipients.
2. Stay active: Exercise helps to stabilise both mental and psychological well-being. There are many YouTube videos which you can follow at home. If you are healthy and not under quarantine, it will be helpful to have a walk at a nearby park once a while. If you are unwell or on SHN, keeping the window open and letting the sun into your room, is better than staying in an air-conditioned room the whole day.
3. Keep a regular schedule: Even if you live alone, it is good to keep to a regular schedule to give a sense of a "normal day". Keeping a diary and managing a tracking system help you feel proactive and less lonely.
4. Learn new things: Taking up an online course, trying out a recipe or doing an arts and craft project can ease the boredom and create a sense of purpose.
5. Reflect: Reflecting on your life and reorganising your thoughts help to give a sense of direction. Writing your reflection is often more helpful than a brief social media posting.
6. Strengthen your faith: Studies have shown that spirituality helps people find purpose and meaning, even during the time of intense pain. Praying and meditating on God's word provides peace and calmness to an anxious mind.
7. Maintain Connection: Technology allows us to keep in touch with our relatives and loved ones, even during the time of isolation. Limit your discussion about COVID-19 with them. Instead, strengthen each other through words of encouragement. Do consider to pray with each other either through phone or online video if you share the same faith.
If you often feel lonely, anxious and even hopeless, it is crucial to seek help. SOS runs a 24-hours helpline crisis at 1800 2214444. Community Psychology Hub has just launched an online pilot project for those facing marital, divorce or pre-divorce challenge. Restoring Peace offers free one-time online individual and support group for those on SHN / LOA and a reduced rate for other issues triggered by COVID-19.
Keeping one's mental well-being is vital to protect us from being vulnerable to illness during this time of isolation and self-distancing.