How to stay emotionally healthy during these trying times
Yes, it is scary.
If someone told you a year ago you’d be confined to your home in March and April 2020; you'd hardly believe it. It sounds like a sci-fi movie.
The reality of the situation is that some of us cope better than others. Some people love the downtime and use it for creative projects, or to connect with their family. For others, the walls close in.
Grow your heart
We want to offer a small ray of hope in our next blogs – it is possible to stay emotionally healthy despite your situation.
In our first blog in this series, we look at some of the mental health implications of being confined because of Corona. In subsequent blogs, we will list some healthy ways to lift your spirit and talk about how to deal with anxiety and depression.
What are the mental health implications of Corona?
A survey among Chinese citizens published in February 2020, found that about 43% of all respondents felt anxious about the coronavirus outbreak. It would not be much different everywhere else!
All of us feel afraid that someone we love will get sick, or that we could lose our income. Investments are negatively impacted. Some people are putting themselves at risk of exposure to serve others in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other essential service places.
In extreme cases, some people might even feel traumatized and depressed by their circumstances.
It is vital to confine yourself to your home so that the spread of the disease can be slowed down.
However, it can lead to incredible loneliness, especially if you are single and already prone to depression. Numerous research studies have shown that loneliness and poor mental health go hand-in-hand.
It is not unlikely that some people can become obsessive about virus avoidance in these times.
People with current obsessive-compulsive tendencies are especially vulnerable and might feel the need to wash, clean, or sterilize continuously.
I recognize myself, what can I do?
- To be less anxious:
- Try not to follow the media too carefully. It can increase your feelings of anxiety.
- Instead, decide to support one or two reputable sources of information and allocate a time each day to allow yourself to check statistics if you feel you need to.
- Adjust your social media activity. Are some people increasing your worry? Unfollow or mute them. There are loads of fake news bulletins doing the rounds that are doing more harm than good. You don’t have to be a dumping ground for every little tidbit of information.
- To be less lonely:
- Strengthen your sense of community by connecting with others. Although you cannot be with others in a physical sense, it does not mean that you can't phone, email, or Whatsapp them. Now is the best time to re-connect with those you've lost contact with, or to lavish attention on an older person.
- Be generous – with your time, but also with your money. Perhaps there is a cause you can donate to in these troubling times?
- Not to obsess:
- Tell yourself that your approach is going to be 'to be calm yet cautious.'
- Do what you can to observe proper hygiene habits without going over the top.
- Sing 'happy birthday' to yourself twice while you are washing your hands. It takes about 20 seconds – just the right amount of time for handwashing!
- Remember, services such as Lifeline and other professional services are still there to help you.
In our next blog, we will get practical. What can you do to lift your spirits? You are welcome to contact us with any questions or concerns. If we can help, we will!