Mental health tips during a pandemic
Mental health tips
Fear and anxiety over the escalation of bad news, isolation due to Circuit Breaker measures, and the general cessation of everything your “regular life” once comprised of – all these factors bundled up can cause serious impact on one’s mental health if no proactive steps are taken.
You don’t have to wait till you’re on the verge of a breakdown to consider taking care of your mental health, just as you would your physical health to prevent falling ill. Maintaining a positive mindset throughout this trying time can be as easy as planning something to look forward to every day at home, and using free apps to soothe your overloaded brain.
Check out our other COVID-19 guides and resources:
- Work from home productivity hacks
- Work from home guide for parents
- Doctor consultation options from home
- Common COVID-19 questions
- Best canned food to stock up on
1. Limit your news updates to essential and official updates only
Image adapted from: Gov.sg
Information overload is an unfortunate by-product of technological advancements. This is especially dangerous if you subscribe to news platforms which are less than legitimate, or pay close attention to hearsay discussions among netizens.
More often than not, their extreme viewpoints stem from fake news and fear mongering. To curb your anxiety and avoid falling prey to fake news and fear-mongering, limit your news updates to only essential and official updates.
An example in terms of the COVID-19 situation would be to subscribe to WhatsApp or Telegram updates from GOV.sg, available in English, Chinese, Bahasa Melayu and Tamil.
2. Plan your schedule the day before in blocks of times
Image credit: @leeniale
Social events and outings aren’t possible for the time being, but don’t fall into the trap of letting your days slip into an indistinguishable mish-mash. It’s true that lines between days, weeks and even months can become a blur when you’re stuck at home with no physical interaction – save for members of your own household – but avoid letting it cause a downward spiral.
Whether you’re a student on Home-Based Learning (HBL), an employee Working From Home (WFH) or staying at home with no official commitments and all the time in the world, it helps to instil order and routine into each day. Planning your schedule the day before also sets things to look forward to, inspiring you to wake up with a smile.
3. Do indoor home exercises or go to lesser known parks to run
There’s no guesswork involved in this; exercising is a surefire way to boost your mood because of the endorphins that your body will produce. Gyms may be closed, but it can be as easy as logging onto YouTube to stream quick and 100% free workout videos. Once you break a sweat, the stress and negative emotions will vacate your mind as your body gets to work.
Only if you can’t take the cabin fever any longer, head out for a dose of fresh air with a quick run – or brisk walk if cardio isn’t your thing. To abide by the circuit breaker measures, remember to stay within your neighbourhood and practice safe distancing at all times. Plan your trip beforehand by checking crowd levels through Safe Distance @ Parks.
4. Cook up healthy meals that are rich in Omega-3
Occasionally digging into comfort food is one thing, but ordering delivery from fast food joints every day is doing your well-being zero favours. As cheesy as it may sound, eating well is the key to feeling good, from the inside out. So, ditch the greasy, calorie-laden junk and try your hand at whipping up some home-cooked dishes instead.
You gain full control of the ingredients used, instantly cutting out artificial nasties that can make you feel sluggish. Strive to make your culinary creations as nutrient-packed as possible, but ingredients like fish, nuts, seeds and plant-based oils in particular are highly favoured for their high Omega-3 content. Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are a mood booster!
Stumped on what dishes to cook? Check out our recipes for some inspo.
5. Schedule regular virtual meetups or game nights online
Image adapted from: The Smart Local
Introvert or not, we as human beings all crave social interaction to a certain degree. Lengthy periods of isolation will undoubtedly become detrimental to one’s psyche. Good news is, loneliness can be curbed with little more than a webcam, microphone and internet connection.
Whether it’s just to hear a familiar voice and see a beloved friend or partner through the screen, or engage in a good ol’ heart-to-heart-talk no matter the physical distance between you guys may be, regular virtual hangouts will make the time apart a lot more bearable. Plus, there are also a tonne of free online multiplayer games which you can jio the entire squad for.
6. Meditate with apps like Headspace to stop negative thoughts
Image adapted from: Headspace
Preventing an overwhelming feeling of dread from swallowing you whole can be as simple as ceasing the negative thoughts in your mind. When we have all the time in the world just confined within 4 walls though, that might not be the easiest thing to do.
Get a little external help with free meditation apps like Headspace, which are user-friendly and effortless to follow even for complete meditation newbies. The app features restful sleep guides, anxiety and stress coping techniques, and movement exercises to let positive energy flow through your body.
7. Reach out to virtual counselling resources
Whether or not you’ve attended therapy sessions before the Circuit Breaker was implemented, physically counselling is temporarily not an option. Ironically, these trying times are when many affected individuals need someone to speak to the most, but thankfully we have technological resources to turn to once more.
Virtual counselling platforms were created, courtesy of Singapore Counselling Centre, to combat the suffocating effects isolation can bring about, as well as to lend a listening ear, support and potential solutions to those whose careers, relationships and lifestyle in general have been hit by the pandemic.
For those who prefer verbally expressing their woes, you can also keep this helplines at hand:
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
8. Theme your days to create something you can look forward to
If your daily routine consists of waking up, non-stop Netflix and social media, then heading to bed, it’s only a matter of time before boredom consumes you to the point of numbness. We’re in charge of our own activity planning while at home, but having the internet also means there’s an endless array of new things to try – things we previously didn’t have time for.
If you’re a K-Pop lover, set aside a day of the week to have a “faux concert” with stage performance compilations. For those into dance, learn a new choreography by tuning into your favourite instructor’s Instagram Live. It can even be as simple as curating a new Spotify playlist to beat the blues, and letting it blast while you and the rest of the household get jiggy with it.
Stay healthy physically and mentally throughout a pandemic
While we’re busy masking up and keeping a steady supply of healthcare essentials in our arsenal, let’s not forget to give our mental well-being plenty of TLC as well. Keeping one’s mental health in tip-top condition is just as crucial as maintaining physical health, especially during a period of heightened distress and isolation.
We hope these tips serve you and your loved ones well throughout the Circuit Breaker. This too shall pass, and we as a nation will emerge stronger!
Check out some uplifting articles to keep your spirits high throughout this pandemic:
- How the Resilience Budget is helping Singaporeans
- Past pandemics Singapore has survived
- Inspirational COVID-19 stories in Singapore
- COVID-19 measures in Singapore that are different from the world
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