Mental Health and Covid-19 in Asia: Tips and Strategies to Combat Isolation From the Pandemic
Although we each react differently to stressful situations, an infectious epidemic like coronavirus can generate common features when it comes to mental health. Situations derived from the state of alarm thus imply that people experience symptoms derived from social distancing, quarantine or isolation, generating a feeling of anxiety, worry or fear.
This is caused by a multitude of factors, such as one's own or others' state of health, occupational consequences, uncertainty due to the situation, loneliness… To face this situation, there are a series of tips and recommendations from the Asian Health Coalition and other health organizations with the aim of taking care of mental health during the quarantine.
Among them, the need to become aware of the situation, focusing on the risk that can be caused to oneself or to others in their environment if the indicated isolation is not followed. Therefore, it is necessary to inform yourself by going to reliable sources of information, thus also avoiding overexposure to the media and avoiding 'intoxication'.
Take Action: Limit your outings, wash your hands, set up a routine, make videos, get the upper hand on your emails or readings, go hunting for rainbows, etc.
Feel: Understanding your emotions allows you to be better informed about your needs. What are yours? To speak with someone? To take a distance from your loved ones before impatience becomes violence?
Accepting Yourself: Why not take the list of your strengths and display it in your home office, on the fridge or in your bathroom? It could be saving in a little moment of depression. And it's a great exercise to do with the people of the house!
Recharge your Batteries: Go for a walk, close the door to your room for 10 minutes solo, read, do puzzles or do meditation. Taking the time to recharge could even help maintain or even develop the immune system.
Discover: Learn how to make a video conference with your loved ones using the new Tencent video conferencing tools, browse the Web to learn more about a subject that interests you, learn a new language, etc.
Choosing: While life as we know it has changed radically, we sometimes feel that we have lost control over our daily lives. However, it is still possible to make choices. Take stock of your priorities, choose according to your values or seek help.
Create Links: Speak on the phone, find friends on Facebook, join an online group that shares one of our interests, offer our support to someone who needs to do their shopping.
COVID-19 pandemic can be a source of stress and anxiety because it disrupts our lives. However, with this crisis, being talked about everywhere an increase in stress and anxiety is certain to happen in most parts of the Asian continent and the world in general.
Stay informed about how the Asian community copes with it and life Asia in general. Also try and follow the aforementioned tips together with the following strategies that can help to limit the stress, anxiety, and anxiousness of the infection.
Strategies to Maintain Our Mental Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic
You could use strategies that have proven to be effective in managing your stress and anxiety. A pandemic can disrupt our routine and lead us to give up activities that have a beneficial effect (such as exercise) to engage in activities that can have negative effects (eg, consuming more alcohol).
Here are some tips that you may find useful. You may need to adapt them to your personal situation, your personality, where you live, your surroundings and your Asian cultural heritage. Do not hesitate to be creative.
Fear and anxiety are normal
COVID-19 is caused by a new virus. The uncertainty that surrounds it and the measures put in place can make us anxious. This is normal and it can motivate us to act to protect ourselves, protect the people around us and inform us about the pandemic.
Consult reliable sources of information
Read the information provided by experts and reliable sources. There is a lot of information going around on COVID-19 every day, but it is not always accurate.
Avoid visiting obscure websites and online discussion groups where information is posted from untrusted sources and stories that are not necessarily true are shared. Be wary of messages posted on social media and question the reliability of the information conveyed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Take a structured approach to solving your problems
You may not know where to turn during the pandemic. Distinguish between what you need to fix and what worries you, but which doesn't necessarily reflect reality.
Challenge the thoughts that cause worry and anxiety
Anxiety and stress are usually influenced by our thoughts. For example, you may say to yourself "I'm going to die," "I can't do anything," or "I'm not going to make it." These thoughts can be so intense that you believe them.
However, our thoughts are not always based on facts. Many of them are just a reflection of long-held beliefs that we do not challenge. How do we know if our thoughts are sensible or are just entrenched beliefs? Try and do an exercise to take stock of the thoughts that are causing concern and anxiety, and figure out whether they are realistic or unrealistic.
In summary, it is advisable to keep a positive outlook on the situation. A calm that allows us to avoid catastrophic thoughts, highlighting the temporary and conjunctural situation that we are experiencing. Of course, following health recommendations and understanding that they come for our good is also vital.
Establishing a daily activity plan, setting a routine with simple goals ensures that the hours pass more easily as well. In the same way, it is also important not to neglect healthy habits: hygiene, diet, physical activity ... And, of course, take advantage of the technology that offers to maintain a necessary social contact, either by phone or videoconference.
It is also essential to pay attention to groups such as children, who should be informed in an age-appropriate way. It is necessary to understand that it is useless to keep them on the sidelines or to hide what is happening to them.
Patients with depression or mental illness can also try and join a support group on which to project attention. Maintaining compliance with treatment, as well as contact and communication with family and friends is very important. In addition, in the event of a worsening situation, this contact must also take place with the available health and social resources.
Last but not least, senior citizens must also fight the effects of quarantine on their mental health. Taking advantage of the solitude and its benefits by doing relaxation or meditation exercises is a good practice in this case. Likewise, the use of the media to combat social distancing and to carry out activities (physical or not) are some recommendations in order to liven up the current situation.