We all know that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now affecting every part of the world drastically. Since January 2020, various countries started implementing regional and national containment measures or lockdowns which includes closure of workplaces, educational institutes and most forms of social and entertainment centres. This phenomenon brought a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe and has led to short term as well as long term psychosocial and mental health implications for all. Here we aim to highlight how prolonged periods of stress causes damage to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Studies have shown that during the pandemic and lockdown, everyone including adults, adolescents, and even young children are greatly impacted - emotionally, mentally, and socially. Whilst many lost their jobs and are facing difficulties coping with day-to-day living, those who are fortunate in keeping their jobs are facing an increased level of stress due to working from home – on top of the long working hours, lack of social activities, there’s also increased face time with their partners and family members. On the other hand, over 91% of the world’s student population are also greatly affected. Teens and children are washed with waves of uncertainty and anxiety due to disruption in their education schedules, physical activities, and opportunities for socialisation.
As this situation might go on for longer than what we’ve expected, here are some ways for us to overcome this pandemic together (you are not alone out there!):
Firstly, stop giving extra attention to COVID-19 related news. The virus is spreading worldwide and a fast pace and fixating on too many details isn’t going to help. Instead, reducing your anxiety by limiting yourself from COVID-19 media exposure to not more than twice a day will probably help. If you need to, check for updates in the morning and before dinner and try to avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. The media often creates an exaggerated impression of global panic. Research reported that watching or scrolling through the media will lead individuals even more anxious as an excess of news and visual images about a traumatic event can create symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and poor health years later.
Secondly, get in touch with friends and family. We can get and provide warm, comforting, social support by video or phone calls or even with just a simple text. Taking time to share your feelings and to listen and support others will leads us a long way. Catching up with others who have our best interests at heart makes us feel safe. Consider hosting a catch-up dinner every week using FaceTime or Zoom or any other social platforms, so you can talk while you eat (about some positive things, not just this crisis!).
Not to forget, mindful eating! Good nutrition plays a role in our mood improvement. Stress makes us seek comfort foods, and in turn, high carbs and sugars impact our mood. Many population-based studies show that a Mediterranean diet has been linked to better mental health and stress resilience, whereas a junk food western diet is linked to depression and anxiety. Try to fill up your fridge with fresh produce, frozen vegetables, and whole foods when possible.
Furthermore, it is to work smart from home. Commonly, we tend to be overworked for the day and feel that there is no work-life balance. A way to avoid burnout is to end your workday with clear boundaries. Set both clear working and resting hours in the day and once working hours passed put away all work tools and electronic devices and enjoy the remaining time. You can also create some boundaries at home, having a dedicated workplace can help our mind to disconnect from work after leaving the space.
Last but not least, try taking time out and tune to your feelings and practice mindfulness. Understanding how you feel is important. If you feel anxious, stress, angry etc., try regulating it with breathing techniques! A simple breathing technique: soft belly breathing inhale for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds; repeat for 8 rounds.
Still feeling anxious and stress after trying the above methods? Consider hypnotherapy. Whatsapp us for more information: Yu Therapy +6011 - 1858 5792.