The most used word at the moment is COVID-19, the pandemic which is putting the world into crisis. Fear and panic are taking over especially now that locally, the number of people who have the virus has increased. Feeling scared is very normal because as individuals we want to protect ourselves, our loved ones and hopefully we also think about our community too. Thus, following the instructions and guidelines we are constantly being given by health authorities is important. The key message is very clear; stay safe and keep others safe too.
One of the struggles with this pandemic is not knowing when it will be over. However, remember that it will not last forever it is a matter of when not if. It could be weeks or months but knowing that it will end can bring some comfort. Dealing with the unknown is never easy thus, in such situations, the best way to tackle feeling nervous or anxious is to live the moment and stay in the here and now. If there is anything positive that this virus has given most of us is time, precious time which we do not usually have in the busy lives that we live.
We are continuously being advised by professionals to stay indoors as much as possible. More time being spent at home means having time to connect with our loved ones and do activities which usually we would not have time to do. This could be a lot of fun such as playing games, cooking, baking, doing crafts, reading books, house maintenance etc. Although we are spending much more time indoors this does not mean that we stop taking care of our physical health. There are several workouts one can find online. Engaging in such activities stimulates the brain to release chemicals which make us feel good and if you are overeating whilst indoors, it will also help to burn those extra calories which you are consuming.
Spending time indoors can be isolating for some people especially if you live alone. Connect to family and friends by having video calls where you can still see each other and have a chat. Instead of meeting with your friends at the coffee shop do so virtually. This will help you remain connected in times when we are being asked to avoid going out. If you have an elderly relative whom you cannot visit, give them a call. Although it is not the same as seeing them in person they will not feel isolated and those few minutes talking to you could be their highlight of the day.
In such a time of panic and uncertainty staying positive can be difficult. If you notice that the more you read and listen to, the more anxious or distressed you are becoming try to limit how much news and social media you follow. If you are going to look up information, try to look for practical advice rather than statistics as the latter may overwhelm you even more. Although these are tough times, remember that there is only so much you can control. In the meantime, we trust in our professionals to take care of us if the need arises.
Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.