The global spread of Covid-19 has changed our daily lives in many ways. Everyday activities we used to take for granted have been restricted, and an increasing number of people are struggling with emotional discomfort such as anxiety, helplessness, depression and anger due to financial hardship. At a time when everyone is forced to face a rapid shift, let’s learn how to take a good care of our mental well-being.
Guide to Taking Care of Your Mental Health
We may not be able to perfectly avoid exposing ourselves to stress caused by an infectious disease, but finding effective ways to look after our mental well-being can help us keep our stress under control.
Infodemic, a term referring to a rapid spread of false information about an epidemic through media, has recently emerged as a problem that heightens anxiety and stress in the general population. A combination of ‘information’ and ‘epidemic,’ an infodemic intensifies groundless fears and hinders rational judgment. In order to safeguard yourself from an infodemic, it is recommended that you focus on objective information provided by government institutions and make it a rule to limit your information search to specific hours of the day. Another great way to avoid an infodemic is to distract yourself by doing housework that you have been putting off or trying a new hobby.
If anxiety over an epidemic leads to hatred or discrimination against a particular person or group of people, it can result in those vulnerable to infection hiding themselves from the relevant authorities, which will significantly hinder quarantine efforts. Revealing the identity of, and personal attacks against, a particular person or group can stigmatize and expose them to victim-blaming by the general public. We need to be aware that ‘anyone can be infected with a viral disease’ and recognize that fact as society.
It is normal for anyone to feel anxious and scared when you’re exposed to the danger of getting infected with a disease. Knowing that you can be infected at any given moment to inflict harm on, and consequently be blamed by, your beloved family, colleagues, company and community only heightens the anxiety. A moderate level of anxiety can enhance your ability to respond to a crisis, but severe anxiety and fear will have a negative impact on safeguarding yourself psychologically. Times like this require you even more to focus wholly on your own physical and mental well-being and seek help of a professional if you cannot deal with the situation on your own.
Strict measures of personal hygiene and social distancing aimed to curb the spread of an infectious disease limit social and business activities and can create a sense of isolation and loneliness. Try using video calls and online messengers to check in on friends and family going through these challenging times and comfort each other. Knowing that you are emotionally connected to your loved ones despite the physical distance will serve as a great source of comfort.
Checking on Your Mental Health through Self-assessments
It is absolutely normal to feel anxiety and stress about an epidemic. Most stress responses naturally dissipate over time, but if your stress level exceeds a normal threshold making it difficult for you to maintain your daily life, you may want to seek professional help.
The following checklists are self-administered assessments that were provided by ‘Todac Todac Co-op,’ a social enterprise specializing in psychotherapy, to members of the public who have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19. Go through the checklists and learn about the state of your mental health. You need to have an accurate understanding of your mental state in order to take the right actions.
* These self-assessments do not diagnose a particular illness—they are for reference purposes only.
Our mind is organically connected to our body—that’s why an illness can weaken our mind while poor mental health can undermine physical health. You should, therefore, regularly check on the state of your mental well-being and learn how to effectively keep your mind under control and cherish the ordinary daily life.
We will leverage on our wisdom to overcome the current crisis as we always have. However, we must not forget what Covid-19 has forced us to ponder in our lives. We’re all learning, through these challenging times, that what’s most important in life has always been in our everyday life that we considered so ordinary and familiar to sometimes dismiss it as being mundane: conversations with colleagues over coffee, cold beer with a close friend, laughter of children filling their classroom and meals shared with our loved ones. What’s most important in your life? It is those familiar and ordinary aspects of everyday life that can be the very source of your happiness and gratitude for life.