The Corona virus has plunged the world into uncertainty and constant news about a pandemic without stopping. All of these have a negative impact on people’s mental health, especially those who are already living with conditions of mental problems such as anxiety and OCD. So how can we protect our mental health?
The more widespread spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in various parts of the country, made several favorite meeting locations such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and schools closed. Like what just happened in a big city like New York City which today (March 16) closed schools, restaurants, bars and other areas in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly corona virus.
The closed schools will start the remote digital learning system on March 23 so that students will not be left behind. Restaurants and bars are directed to only be allowed to ‘take out’ and ‘delivery’.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the country is currently facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.
To date, America has recorded 3,774 people infected and 69 deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While New York City alone with a population of more than 8 million people, has pocketed 5 deaths.
Kang Kyung-Wha, South Korea’s foreign minister expressed his thoughts that a thorough inspection is key to the fatality rate of COVID-19 in South Korea, which remains low, and is the government’s obligation to prevent the panic of its citizens, quoting from the BBC.
Some public health experts report, someone waiting in a busy terminal has the potential to cause more people to be infected with the virus. Then, how to overcome anxiety and boredom for activities that can only be around the house?
WHO has released documents to deal with mental problems and stress during an outbreak. Some of these include: avoid watching, reading or hearing news that can make you feel anxious or stressed; enrich practical information related to the preparation and protection of self and loved ones; update information at a time to avoid the accumulation of information that creates stress while preventing hoaxes.
The following are tips for maintaining mental health from the pandemic COVID-19 news:
1. Limit and Be Careful When Reading News
It is best to only watch and read information updates from trusted sources, such as WHO, CDC, NYTimes, or for Indonesians, such as the Ministry of Health.
2. Breaks from Social Media and Mute Groups or Triggering News
Mute keywords that can trigger anxiety on Twitter and stop following or mute the account. Mute the WhatsApp group and hide Facebook posts and feeds if that makes you anxious.
3. Washing Hands, But Not Excessive
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can increase their anxiety if they are told to wash their hands continuously.
4. Stay Connected with Others
You can contact family or other people with ‘face to face’ via video call. If you isolate yourself, balance between routine and make sure you have variations every day.
5. Avoid Fatigue
For weeks the COVID-19 pandemic attacks, it is important to fully replenish energy with rest so that when the pandemic has subsided, you are not surprised by the busyness that you used to deal with. Do not let you have no contact at all with sunlight. Do exercise, eat well and stay hydrated.
Finally, AnxietyUK suggests practicing the “APPLE” technique for dealing with anxiety and worry.
Acknowledge: acknowledge and acknowledge the uncertainty that arises in your mind.
Pause: Take a deep breath and exhale. Don’t react to anything other than this relaxation technique.
Pull Back: Tell yourself that your concern is unnecessary and not helpful at all. It’s only your thoughts or feelings. Don’t believe everything you think. The mind is not a statement or fact.
Let go: Let go of your thoughts or feelings. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. Imagine they disappear in a bubble or fly into the clouds.
Explore: Explore to date, because in fact you are still fine. Pay attention to your breathing and surroundings. Then turn your attention to what you need to do until your mind and attention are completely distracted.