Jobs lost. Events canceled. Schools and offices closed for extended periods. Even for the fortunate people who haven’t been infected with COVID-19, or seen their loved ones struggle with the disease, this pandemic has led to some serious secondary effects that can be difficult to deal with.
As this new wave of the virus impacts Thailand, many employers are again asking their personnel to stay at home. Yet anytime unexpected changes impact a person’s life or environment, mental stress is likely to be the result. Employees should therefore take extra care to manage their mental health, and avoid being caught up in feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
Effective self-care is often a matter of forming the right habits. Here are 5 practical tips to manage your mental health during the pandemic:
1. Limit your exposure to the news
Our mental state tends to reflect what is happening around us. Take breaks from social media and news, particularly if they leave you feeling even more down. Other hobbies – like games and puzzles, or listening to relaxing music – can put you in a better state of mind.
2. Listen to your feelings
It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or disappointed sometimes. Let these emotions come without suppressing them. Instead, write down what you feel, rate your happiness level each day, and set goals for the positive things you can accomplish the next day.
3. Keep in touch with your friends and family
If you feel down, reach out to those close to you. The act of sharing emotions with another person, and forming a bond with them, can be a big step towards feeling better. Of course, make yourself available for other people who might need support as well.
4. Do things you enjoy
Settle into your favorite activities – or if those don’t give you as much pleasure as they used to, try something you haven’t done before. Cook new dishes, grow a plant, practice painting or exercising. Do all the things you always wished you could have done, if you had enough time.
5. Practice meditation
Meditation brings a sense of calm, peace, and balance. When you rest your thoughts and free your mind, you will experience a greater sense of well-being.
These ideas can be adapted to suit people of all ages. In many cases, adults bear a heavier burden when dealing with financial uncertainty, while children may have more difficulty spending extended periods of time at home, away from their peers.
While tending to your own mental health, it is important to understand that others are undergoing periods of stress as well. Try to remain generous of spirit, tolerant of mistakes, and supportive of the people around you as they face their own challenges. We are all stronger as a community than as a group of isolated individuals – and so each time we help others, we are also helping ourselves.
Lastly, consider that change can also open new doors. Though the pandemic remains a real danger, staying at home lets us read more books, learn new skills, and spend more time with our loved ones. By making the most of the life we have, each of us can restore our sense of purpose – and look ahead to every day not as an ordeal, but as an opportunity.