It is human nature to plan. We use menus, diaries and budgets to guide our actions. Workouts, parties and holiday getaways fill our social calendar.
Planning gives us a sense of control. It creates predictability, calm and helps us to accomplish more.
But we are in uncertain times; there is pain and fear around us.
The future is not as clear as we have known it.
Employees have been laid off, we are now working from home and travel has been restricted.
The economic impact, loss of social interactions and meaningful engagement of your time can have an impact on your mental health.
Corona Virus is an invisible threat; what we see is its results, which can intensify the fear and dread we feel.
We start to view every cough, sneeze, tingling throat sensation with suspicion.
You worry that the backache you feel could be a symptom of the virus and not a sign that your mattress needs replacement.
We become aware of our own immortality; thoughts of death start to creep in. Will I Die? Will my loved ones die?
We become suspicious of the medical fraternity- are they doing enough to contain the spread of the disease?
We may suspect the government- are they revealing the true statistics or are they covering up facts?
Have my neighbours travelled to high-risk areas lately? Could they be infected and not showing symptoms?
This natural tendency to catastrophize served our ancestors well, but it can be detrimental in times of uncertainty.
It clouds our thoughts and actions with anxiety and worry.
Our lives are structured around routines and behaviours that happen on auto-pilot mode. Habits are nature’s way of conserving energy.
But in times of crisis; we are knocked out of this auto-pilot mode.; we instinctively switch to a fight or flight response. A pandemic can either make you or break you.
During a time of crisis, individuals and societies can benefit from understanding how a pandemic affects us.
During a crisis, daily activities require more energy due to the worry caused by uncertainty. Evaluate what you can let go or postpone some things and spend more time in self-care.
Identify what can be controlled and implement methods to control them. Identify things that can’t be controlled and let those things go.
Observe when your thinking is leaning towards catastrophizing and find a measured response that acknowledges the facts. For example, “It is possible I could get the virus, but it is not guaranteed.”
Intentionally practise new social patterns of hygiene such as washing hands, keeping hands from touching your face and keeping a measured distance from others.
Engage in activities that calm your mind and relax your body such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
Turn off screens for several hours a day to engage in exercise, reading or other pleasurable hobbies.
Use this time to increase your connection with your loved ones. Spend time expressing gratitude and affection.
If you experience mental health challenges that interfere with your daily responsibilities, seek professional support.
Donate money to a charity, gift a family friend with a shopping voucher or buy food for a children’s home. These acts will increase your own positive feelings as well as strengthen the social fabric that binds us.
Chose media reports that give a clear message on how you can protect yourself during this time. Limit consumption of statistics that indicate lives lost or have critically ill patients.
As you share information with friends and family consider the impact it will have on them. Is what you are sharing a fact? What is the source? Is it helpful or anxiety-provoking?
As we continue to learn more about the outbreak, focus your attention on protecting yourself physically and mentally.
Practise social distancing, frequent hand-washing and isolation in case of exposure.
Get proactive about your psychological well-being by practising self-care habits like meditation, yoga and getting adequate sleep.
In order to continue serving you; we have launched E-Therapy services.
Get in touch with our psychologists on +254 739 935 333/+254 756 454 585,
Email us on email@example.com or visit our website for more details.