8 tips to boost your mental wellness
1 Reframe the situation. You are not stuck at home. Instead, you are indulging in a long-awaited opportunity to slow down, focus on yourself and the home.
2 Shut out negative thoughts by focusing on your surroundings and immersing in the present moment. Listen to the birds outside the window, look at a pleasant object and describe it in your mind, make a cup of tea or coffee and notice how it smells and tastes.
How our body experiences our surroundings can help our brain register that we are in a safe place so that our body can relax.
3 Keep our hope alive. This is a good time to rethink our ways of life and reflect: What would a better tomorrow look like? Make the best of every moment - and we will come out of Covid-19 stronger.
4 Practise self-care and self-compassion. Try to sustain routines that bring comfort and stability, whether it is prayer, art, journaling, exercising, cooking or supporting others.
Also be gentle on ourselves, when we cannot always shut off fear and pain - our own and the world's. Fear is no fun but it signals that we are fully human.
5 Try to be adaptive. This involves a flexibility to function optimally in changing circumstances like the pandemic.
6 This is a good time to learn to get along with family members, when facing them 24/7. Pause before giving negative comments. Be more liberal with such phrases: Thank you. Well done. I appreciate your help.
7 Keep socialising, safely, with video chats on Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts or other tools. Or use the phone, text messages and e-mail.
8 Limit exposure or take a break from Covid-19 updates. While it is important to stay informed, it is good to reflect if checking for updates has become unhealthy or obsessive.
Focus on recovery numbers instead of mortality rates. Separate real news from rumour. Balance the news intake with reading or watching videos with themes that you delight in.
Lee Siew Hua
National Care Hotline: 6202-6868
Fei Yue Community Services: Register for online counselling at www.ec2.sg
Touch Community Services TOUCHline: Call 1800-377-2252 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Silver Ribbon: 6385-3714, 6386-1928 or 6509-0271
Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
Sources: Ms Elysia Tan, Touch Integrated Family Group; Dr Goh Kah Hong, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital; Ms Sarah Poh, The Therapy Platform; psycho-traumatology practitioner Christine Wong; The Guardian and The New York Times.