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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, stress levels are soaring higher than usual. Nobody was prepared for a pandemic so intense, it left people experiencing a wide range of emotions; from feeling worried, scared and anxious to feeling helpless and hopeless, people were unable to come to terms with the situation themselves, let alone be there for one another especially with social distancing.
Coping Methods for Coronavirus Pandemic
Self care strategies could help with your mental and physical health during this stressful time. Here are some steps for you to take care of your body, mind and relationships during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
- Create a proper sleep schedule – Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Get regular physical exercise – Exercise is good not only for the body but it improves your mood and reduces anxiety as well. A walk down the road or a few dance moves should get you going.
- Eat healthy meals – Avoid stocking up on junk food and food containing refined sugar as it could lead to chronic diseases. Limit caffeine intake as it aggravates stress, anxiety and sleep disorders.
- Avoid use of substances – The coronavirus pandemic has seen a rise in substance abuse with people depending on it to deal with matters, but consuming alcohol, tobacco and drugs reduces your coping skills.
- Reduce screen time – Make a conscious effort to limit using your phone, laptop, television, tablet, etc. excessively. Avoid screen time especially before going to bed and as soon as you wake up.
- Relax and Recharge – Take a few minutes every day to settle your mind and reduce anxiety. You could practice simple breathing exercises, yoga, meditation or just read a book, listen to some music or do some gardening, whatever helps you rejuvenate.
- Create a daily routine – Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, our routine has changed drastically especially with work from home and limited access to the outside world. Maintaining a regular schedule for bedtime, work, exercise, etc. is good for your mental health as it will give you a sense of being in control.
- Limit exposure to news media – Continuously tracking the news about COVID-19 can only heighten fear about the virus. Make sure you follow only reliable news and limit your time on social media that may expose you to fake news or rumors. Even constantly listening to news about the virus from people around you, could cause you only more stress. It is okay to deviate from the topic and talk about something else for your own well-being.
- Keep yourself occupied – Healthy distractions break the cycle of negative thoughts that lead to anxiety and depression. Enjoy your hobbies or find something new to do at home, explore interests that you never had the time to take up, as coping mechanisms for your mental health.
- Be grateful – Be thankful for the little things you have, the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. When you look around you and introspect, you’ll find plenty of reasons to be grateful. This promotes a more positive outlook on life and gives us a sense of hope in these difficult times.
- Use your religion or spirituality for support – Drawing strength from a belief will give you comfort in these uncertain times. Reach out to your mentor or spiritual guide to help you cope.
- Set achievable goals – Prioritise little tasks every day for you to complete and give yourself credit once you’ve checked it off your list, this will give you a sense of accomplishment, purpose and help you look forward to each day.
- Support your family, friends and co-workers – If someone close to you is in quarantine, find ways to brighten their day virtually. For example, sending them a funny text or a meme. Isolation can get lonely especially when it is not by choice and when you are unwell, supporting your family member, friend or colleague by giving them positivity during quarantine can help them recover faster.
- Make connections – If you are working remotely or you are self-isolating, avoid social isolation. Build relationships virtually through texts, video calls, virtual games or sharing a screen to watch a movie, this will lift your spirits and everyone else’s too. Check on your loved ones and co-workers now and then, share coping strategies to help one another get through these uncertain times.
- Maintain relationships – By helping others, you are helping yourself by finding purpose during the coronavirus pandemic. Check on your neighbors if they need anything like groceries or medicines if they are unable to step out. When you take the first step in doing something for others, you will find that you have people around you, supporting you too. They will be there for you when you need them and you won’t find yourself left all alone trying to cope during these stressful times.
Lend a shoulder to those who are suffering and going through loss. Reach out to a mental health professional if you are unable to find coping mechanisms yourself or if your anxiety, depression, etc. are getting in the way of your day-to-day activities. Our mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand, in order to build our immunity and fight COVID-19, our minds need to be clear and at peace.