Protecting our mental health at the time of the coronavirus pandemic is essential

Here are 14 strategies we could use to protect our mental health until this crisis subsides:

GRATITUDE – doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are at the front-line of managing this crisis. It is essential that we acknowledge this and respect them for their long, tiring hours of work, while we stay in the safety of our homes. Our sense of gratitude towards them heals us too.

SPIRITUAL –  beliefs and practices is a buffer in these times – connecting with our beliefs and practices could soothe our mind and renew hope, among other greater spiritual benefits.

ALTRUISM – Give (food etc) to daily wage workers, who may not have continuous employment in the coming weeks/months. Our hearts too will lighten with these deeds.

BE CONNECTED – social support is a wonderful protector of the mind. With social distancing recommended, connect via tele means instead. Call/text family/friends (including those overseas) to see how they are. They’ll be happy to hear from you and you will too

INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL – get involved in constructive activities that you can complete. This could mean simple but fulfilling things like games with your children.

MAINTAIN  your daily routine, despite the closure of schools etc – keep to the same waking times etc.

LIMIT media exposure to known sources – a lot of people claim many things 🙂

SHARE information with anybody whom you have a reasonable amount of contact with (e.g. the bus conductor, cashier, security guard), on how to protect themselves from being infected – It’s amazing how some people still don’t seem to be in the know about hand washing, social distancing etc.

CHILDREN need to be made aware – guides as that from etc., is lovely

OLDER ADULTS may be ‘stubborn’ to heed advise on taking precautions – patient persistence is important to drive home the message

COMMEND  those quarantined – be grateful they are doing this, even though they had initially resisted. It will buffer their mental health and bring some peace to all around

MOST IMPORTANTLY, TRAIN YOUR MIND TO COME BACK TO THE PRESENT WHEN YOU FIND IT BEING ENMESHED IN THOUGHTS OF WORRY. The present doesn’t ‘tolerate’ anxiety and worry 🙂 You could read on how to be in the present, on the internet by typing words such as ‘mindfulness’, ‘being in the present.

CONSIDER this time of ‘lockdown’ as an opportunity to enjoy solitude and to contemplate. Such opportunities are rare in our usually hectic lives

Realize that human life is spotted with crisis, such as pandemics, as well as good times. It is an inevitable truth of life, whether we like it or not 🙂

Source: Professor Piyanjali de Zoysa, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka




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