From cancelling upcoming travel plans to daily temperature taking to ensuring 1m distance from the person in front of you in a queue, there have been sweeping changes in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It can be an unnerving time as most of us are staying indoors, worrying about an uncertain future and concerned for the well-being of our family and friends.
While many are practicing and starting to get used to good hygiene practices, the uncertain future of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic still is worrying. However, it is normal to feel afraid and anxious in the face of a crisis. As we go through a range of emotions, it is important to remember that there are some things you can do to manage these emotions.
1. Manage your exposure to media coverage
While it is good to be kept updated on recent developments, repetitively tuning in to news stories about the severity of the pandemic and how fast the virus is spreading may heighten your anxiety. It is important to only consume what you can handle.
If you are already aware of the basic information, it may be good to mute or turn off your notifications of your news mobile applications during this period. You can still check in to reliable and official sources to keep yourself informed but limit your media consumption to once a day or to a specific time of the day.
If you will feel better avoiding media completely, ask someone you trust to pass on any major updates you will need to know about.
2. Revisit that long forgotten project or hobby
In this period when we are home-bound and have more time on our hands than usual, it may be a good opportunity to start on activities that you have been putting off for a while. Be it starting on that book you have been wanting to read, or trying out a particular cooking recipe you found online, or even attempting to make your own Dalgona coffee.
Hobbies force us to focus on an activity, and this in turn helps to distract you from over-thinking about issues that may be overwhelming your thoughts at a given moment. Spending time on your favourite activities and picking up new skills can be a simple way to keep your spirits high amidst this worrying period.
3. Stay connected
Though some of us may be physically isolated, it does not mean that we have to be facing the pandemic alone. Maintaining a strong social connection, either through social media, texting or calls, is as important as prioritizing a healthy diet and sleep pattern. Staying in contact with loved ones not only helps to feed off boredom but it can also allow an individual to feel supported and surrounded by positivity. It also allows you to check in to find out how they’re keeping safe.
In addition, it helps to be able to have an open conversation about the virus with someone you trust. The virus may affect people in various ways – from the fear of infection to the prospect of unemployment or even facing financial instability. One may feel overwhelmed with the thoughts of losing control. When we are able to openly talk about our emotions and thoughts, it helps to put things into perspectives and manage the anxiety you are feeling without being overwhelmed.
In circumstances where seeking support from your social network is not possible, seek emotional support from available community resources. Several mental health agencies offer hotline or online counselling services that you are able to readily access from the comforts of your home.
Even though we are encouraged to cut back on in-person socializing, it is more important than ever to stay connected as best as we can and reach out for support.
4. Be kind
In the midst of something that seems overwhelming, helping others can provide a sense of control and empowerment. When we start to focus on others in need, we are less likely to overthink and more likely to feel happier. Showing empathy and engaging in helpful activities, whether it is donating, volunteering, or listening to a friend in need, can increase feelings of social connectedness as well. We are all in this together and in times like this, being a positive, uplifting influence not only impact the community but can help you to feel better about your own situation too.
While we can each do our part and practice safe distancing and good hygiene practices, we can also aim to spread positivity and kindness, rather than fear and panic, in the midst of this outbreak.
This pandemic is a turbulent time for most of us but remember that it is ok to be feeling drained and overwhelmed. The important thing is to be self-aware and mindful of your own well-being. When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear, shift your focus to things that you can do to cope.
At the same time, practice basic proper hygiene and safe distancing to avoid the spread of the virus.
Though the future may seem uncertain now, remember that this too shall pass. We are all in this together to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
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