While we adhere to the Movement Control Order to help contain the spread of COVID-19, some of us might be experiencing stress, fear or anxiety from being confined in our homes or being overwhelmed by countless of COVID-19 related news.
These experiences are common during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the Ministry of Health Malaysia is advising the public to prioritise their mental health in this challenging time.
In the United Kingdom, Public Health England has outlined 14 useful ways for people to remain calm and positive amidst the pandemic. Here are some of these recommendations:
Consider how to connect with others
Maintaining relationships with your loved ones is important for your mental wellbeing.
If you live alone, stay in touch with your family and friends through telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting face-to-face.
Talk about your worries
Given that this is a difficult time for everyone at the moment, sharing how you feel and what you do to cope with the situation with your family and friends can help ease their concerns too.
Alternatively, you can contact the Ministry of Health’s psychological first-aid hotline or non-governmental organisations such as Befrienders.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Your physical health can greatly impact your mental wellbeing. Eat healthy meals, drink enough water, exercise indoors, and try avoiding smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Look after your sleep
Your mental health is also dependent on the quality of your sleep. Maintain regular sleeping patterns, and practise good sleep hygiene such as avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment.
Manage your media information intake
Getting updated on COVID-19 24/7 can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. It would be best to limit the time you spend on checking media coverage on the pandemic, especially via social media.
Get the facts
Gather high-quality information through credible sources. This will help you accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting COVID-19 so that you can take reasonable precautions.
Do things you enjoy
Relieve yourself of your anxiety or loneliness by focusing on your hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax and focus on the present.
If the things you enjoy has often been outside your home, figure ways to adapt with your stay at home. You can try online courses or participate in virtual activities such as streamed live music concerts.
Find out what you want or need to do that you can still do it at home; for example, watching a film, reading a book or learning a new skill.
Setting goals and working towards achieving them, as well as keeping your mind active, give you a sense of control and purpose in your life.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
First published in the Borneo Post in print on 4th April 2020.