The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for everyone. Fear, anxiety, and boredom caused by staying home can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions. Some of the most common signs of stress caused by the pandemic are fear, anxiety, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, worsening mental health conditions, etc.
If you are feeling any of those signs of stress, or think that you might be heading towards them, you need to find ways to relieve stress. This works not only for you but also for your family and friends. Here are some of the effective ways to reduce stress and take care of your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connect with Your Loved Ones
One of the easiest ways of reducing stress is by simply connecting to your family and friends. Call them up, get on a video call, or keep sharing memes with them. It will alleviate stress and anxiety for you as well as your family and friends. It is also an excellent way to keep a check on their health as well.
You can take this idea further by experimenting with the platforms. Instead of merely video-calling them, invent a game for everyone to play on a conference call. This way, you can connect with your loved ones, hangout with them, and kill some time.
Know the Emotional Triggers
Mental health problems induced by stress or anxiety often have emotional triggers, i.e., events or incidents that trigger them. Recognize those and learn to work around those. For example, an emotional trigger for a working individual would be a text from their boss asking them to call back soon to discuss something.
Once you recognize such triggers, the next step is to work around them. Most of these triggers are a result of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. Know that your worries, though rational, are unlikely to come true. Figure out ways to avoid those triggers.
Learn to Cope with Stress
However, sometimes, stress is not triggered, or some emotional triggers are unavoidable. If you face this, you must know how to cope with stress. Unlike before, you can’t head to your nearest pub for a beer or visit your friend in a cafe. So, you need to reinvent coping mechanisms for yourself.
The most effective ways to cope with stress is calling your best friend, playing a game, rewatching your favorite TV show, or taking a nap. Find out what works best for you, and stick to it.
Plan Zero Days
Cabin fever is real, and the pandemic has proved it. Doing everything from workout to work at home can be stressful, and you might feel you are not being productive, or that you are wasting your time. This can lead to depression or restlessness.
The best way to cope with it is by planning zero days. What are zero days? They are planned days where you do absolutely nothing. Don’t work, don’t do chores, and don’t clean your house (unless you like it). A zero day will give your mind a rest from all it all. Enjoy this day binging your favorite Tom Cruise movies, or cooking the world’s best homemade pizza!
Similarly, you can even try picking up a new hobby. A new hobby will keep your mind distracted from the world, and it will also help occupy your mind with something productive. And it will help in your personal growth. There are many at-home hobbies that you can partake in. You can create flamingos with paper (origami), or build software with Python (programming). You can even learn to cook or write the next best-selling novel! The possibilities are endless.
Cut Down on News and Social Media
The news and social media are full of the latest reports of the pandemics. How many new cases have been found, how many have individuals have recovered, and how the global economy is heading towards a recession. All of this can be quite stressful if you consume a lot of it.
The solution? Cut down on news and social media. Dedicate only an hour for both so that you don’t face an information overload about the pandemic. It will not help anyone. Just stay updated to the latest news, but avoid consuming a lot of it. Focus your mind on your family, hobby, or work.
Know the Facts
As social media and news, one of the biggest culprits of stress during the pandemic is false news or rumors. And the internet is ripe with those. Some of the rumors are silly, like drinking alcohol protects you from infection, whereas others are downright harmful, like the virus is a biological weapon. None of those rumors, myths, and misconceptions are true.
If you do come across new information from any source that is not the Singaporean authorities, the World Health Organization, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should always fact-check it. Simply google it and see if the information is legit, or just a myth. This will save you a lot of anxiety.
Doing all the above things can help you, but may not always be successful. If you feel that you are having severe mental health issues, you should reach out to get help. Look out for signs of depression, anxiety disorder, panic, or PTSD.
Sure, giving a call to your best friend, or playing your favorite video game might help you, but it is recommended that you seek professional help. Singapore has many options for seeking mental help during the pandemic, like:
- National Healthcare Hotline: 1800-202-6868
- Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714
Do not hesitate to reach out to others for help. Mental illnesses are as serious as physical illnesses, and they must not be stigmatized.
No doubt, the times are uncertain right now, but this will all be over soon. The world will be back to normal. Soon enough, there will be a cure for the coronavirus. Right now, you must take care of your mental health.
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