The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world and filled it with uncertainty, driving us into an emotional rollercoaster that left us feeling disoriented, stressed, and helpless.
Despite the prevailing feeling of uncertainty and fear, we need to understand that it is not the end of the world, and it is our task as part of a global community to help each other thrive through adversities like this. But as the saying goes, we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.
Understand What You’re Feeling And Connect With People
Anxiety usually occurs when we believe we are unable to control or predict what will happen or because of uncontrollable circumstances and stresses, such as the fear of infection from the COVID-19 and the economic devastation the pandemic is leaving in its wake. This does not include other everyday matters, great and small, that make daily life sometimes feel unbearable.
But what we must remember is that we are not alone, and there are also other people out there who are going through the same things you are going through and feeling the same way you are feeling.
It does not help if you also don’t understand and accept what you are feeling. The urge not to show any weakness is human nature but not acknowledging your feelings worsens any bad feelings you already have. It is, therefore, important as well that you accept that you don’t feel good. Like the old saying, it is okay not to be okay.
Stay Informed Only From Reliable Sources
Understandably, the news is filled with more bad news than good during these times. While it is wise to stay informed, it is also equally wise to take a breather from reading or watching the news. Avoiding the news reduces the negativity we see and experience daily and is good for your mental health.
But if you want to stay well-informed with what’s happening, it will be helpful to your mental health if you source the information you consume only from reliable outlets.
Learn to differentiate fake news from real news and don’t simply believe chain messages that only spreads fear and perpetuate unverified information. Indeed, diligence is key.
Know What You Can and Cannot Change
We are in a time of massive upheaval, and perhaps like so many of life’s ups and downs, we have to accept that there are things that are beyond our control. How long will the pandemic last? Is there a vaccine coming soon? How bad will the recession be? When will we get back to normal? These concerns are all understandable but can we really know all these?
Trying to change what cannot be changed can spawn fear of the unknown and this has always been a source of anxiety for people. When this happens, try to focus on the things you can do and can change rather than what you have no control over.
For instance, you may not have the power to cure the people who already have the virus, but you have the power to help prevent yourself and the uninfected people from catching the virus like practicing social distancing, good personal hygiene, and staying home when necessary.
Take Care of Your Body and Your Soul
It is important to be kind to others, especially during these difficult times, but do not forget to be kind to yourself. A body can only take so much stress, especially when “quarantine fatigue” is emotionally exhausting people.
Try to create routines to help you focus and keep your priorities straight. Even if you’re mostly staying at home, try to stick to regular sleep, meal, and work schedule to maintain a sense of normalcy.
You would also have plenty of time to do other things you always wanted, but remember you don’t have to spend time learning new things. Instead, spend time on the things that relax you and bring you joy like reading books, watching movies, playing video games, meditating, exercise, and many more.
You should also avoid substances like alcohol, binge eating and the like just to forget the problems in the world —it’s only a band-aid solution that can only make your mental health worse. Remind yourself that you also deserve better, so be kind to yourself so you can be 100 percent in helping others.
It’s easy to get caught up with fear and anxiety, but focusing on yourself too much also makes it easy to forget about the people around you. While humans have the capacity for destruction, we also have the capacity for profound compassion for one another.
Indeed, many people surely feel happiness and fulfillment in helping others during times of chaos. Helping your community helps to the entire world in the process while giving you a sense of fulfillment.
Look for ways to help others. Make it a point to extend a helping hand, especially to people who are alone and afraid, and who have little or none in life. Your help, big or small, always go a long way during times of crisis.
For instance, with the proliferation of fake news and unverified information, you can do your part by simply spreading inspiring, helpful and verified information. Or you can donate in kind and volunteer your time for non-profit organizations. Doing something helpful and compassionate brings forth positivity to the world around us and makes the crisis a little easier to bear.
We are in a difficult time. This isn’t a time for selfishness, discrimination, blaming others, and harmful prejudices.
More than ever, we need to be a community helping each other and giving empathy no matter the race, social standing, age, or gender. We have to ensure that charity and kindness will spread faster in our community than the virus.
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