April 23, 2020

Looking after your mental health and well-being during quarantine

The outbreak of the coronavirus is impacting people in various ways. Feelings of fear and worry are normal, especially with the barrage of news on the virus and the millions of people it has affected.
It is important to maintain our well-being not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Here are a few ways you can take care of your mental health and well-being during these difficult times.
Limit your exposure to news reports
A constant stream of news reports about the pandemic can cause distress. If you must, limit your exposure to news and media or choose a specific time of day to read or watch updates.
Avoid sensational content, clickbait websites, and satirical news. Stay informed but ensure that you only get updates from reputable sources.
Actively take care of yourself
During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Lay a solid foundation for your mental well-being by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. Taking care of yourself can refresh the spirit and help regulate stress levels.
Avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as alcohol. It might be indulging but undeniably damaging in the long run.
Maintain a daily schedule
In times of uncertainty, routine is your friend. It can help you better adapt to the current situation. Maintain your usual schedule in daily life as much as possible to keep a semblance of normalcy. Eat meals at a regular time, keep your sleep schedule, and establish clear work hours.
You can also create a new schedule that prioritizes activities you enjoy such as study subjects that interests you. Do things you have been meaning to do but have never gotten around to doing, as well. Spring clean your closet, bake a sourdough bread, or enroll in an online class.
Stay connected
Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. With several social media and messaging apps available, staying in contact with family and friends is easy. Virtual communication helps you and your loved ones feel less lonely and isolated.
If you know someone who may be struggling with isolation, reach out to them and see how they are holding up. Let them know you care.
Be kind and compassionate
If you are able, channel your anxious energy to support the frontliners and the marginalized sector. There are some activities you can do to help even within the comfort of your homes, such as organizing an online donation drive, sewing face masks, or cooking healthy meals.
Spread hope
Health experts all over the world are working on solutions as quickly as they can. In the meantime, don’t give up hope. Share positive stories online. Stories of those who have recovered, heroic deeds of the frontliners, and how communities band together against the COVID-19 are the kind of feel-good stories we want to hear.
In the words of WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “Let hope be the antidote to fear.”
Get Help
If you feel you need help, do not hesitate to seek professional counseling. Here are some institutions that offer free online counseling services to people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline
0917-899-USAP (8727) or 7-7-989-USAP (827) is the national crisis hotline for counseling, psychiatric emergencies, suicide prevention, and other mental health concerns.

Philippine Mental Health Association Online Support
You can reach them through their Facebook page Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc., email at pmhacds@gmailcom, or call their hotline 0917-565-2036.

Circle of Hope Community Services, Inc.
Circle of Hope provides free telemental health services for healthcare workers in the frontlines. They can be reached at 0917-822-2324 or 0925-557-0888.

It is important to take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Remember that looking after your mental well-being is as vital as maintaining your physical health. Take the time to recognize and be grateful for what you have, take active care of yourself, stay connected to those you love, and lend a helping hand to those who need it.