We're in a time that is new for everyone, and it's natural for feelings of #anxiety to arise in this uncertain period, so we've decided to make the final part of the series focus on #mentalhealth. (If you missed the previous posts on this, here are links to part 1, 2, and 3.) There are a lot of articles and resources for how to keep your mind healthy and we've listed a few of our favorites at the bottom of this post, but in the meantime, we want to shine some light on an article that we truly think covers most bases when it comes to staying mentally healthy during #covid19.
Business Insider provides 12 ways to cope with coronavirus anxiety, according to psychologists:
Know that feeling anxious about coronavirus is OK and normal. With rising death tolls, rising unemployment rates, physical isolation from loved ones, and, for many, a loss of routine and purpose, people everywhere are enduring a mental-health crisis alongside the medical one, so remember that you are not alone in having these feelings.
Tell yourself something that is certain. Say something like, "I am certain that no matter what happens, we will find a way to deal with it. Or, "I am certain that I love my family and will do everything in my power to protect them." By adding even a small element of certainty in the face of overwhelming uncertainty, you can re-establish a connection with the #presentmoment, #groundyourself, and maintain a good sense of self-control and confidence, says Natalie Dattilo, director of psychology in Brigham & Women's Hospital's department of psychiatry.
Limit your media exposure, especially if you struggled with anxiety before the pandemic. The World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also encouraged people to check the news from reliable sources only once or twice a day.
Do what you can to protect yourself and your family, including excellent hygiene and social distancing practices. Action is the antidote to anxiety, and there's actually a lot individuals can do to protect themselves and their families. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, sanitize high-touch surfaces often, and #stayhome as much as possible.
Do your part in protecting your community, whether by helping more vulnerable neighbors with groceries or simply staying home. You can also take action to help your community, whether that means helping an elderly neighbor get groceries, donating blood, or staying in even when you feel healthy and are able to go out. Because asymptomatic people can carry and spread COVID-19, "the choices you make about where you go can be the difference between life and death for someone else," the WHO Director General said.
Try to focus on what you are grateful for, not wish you would change or go away. Rather than marinating in worries that you'll get the coronavirus, your wedding will be cancelled, or your kids will be out of school until fall, "focus on what you value and what you are grateful for." Make a daily "gratitude list" in order to build psychological resiliency.
Seek virtual help from mental-health professionals, or download a de-stressing app. Therapists are shifting their practices online, and many established virtual therapy services like Brightside and TalkSpace. There are also guided meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace, and Daylio, which helps you track your mood and daily activity so you can keep a mental-health promoting schedule.
Just breathe. Psychiatrist Dr. Mimi Winsberg, the co-founder and chief medical officer of Brightside, recommends the 4-7-8 method, which can re-instill a sense of calm when you feel out of control. The method involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight. But more than the particular count, what matters is that the exhale is longer than the inhale. "Lengthening the exhale emphasizes the release. You're releasing whatever is going on and relieving stress," says Briana Borten, clinical ayurvedic specialist and founder of The Dragontree wellness company.
Attempt to maintain a routine. "Within our homes, maintaining structure and routine is critical because it reinforces order and predictability," says Natalie Dattilo. "It's also something over which we have control. We know that structure binds anxiety, so to the extent that we can maintain our routines, that helps."
Eat healthy, don't smoke, and exercise when possible. Good nutrition and sufficient movement are good for both body and mind. WHO's Tedros recommended eating "a healthy and nutritious diet, which helps your immune system to function properly. "If you can't leave the house, find an exercise video online. Dance to music. Do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs." For more on this, click on parts 1, 2, and 3 of our series of staying healthy during covid19.
Use the time to reach out to loved ones and reconnect with old friends. Just because you may be physically distant from other people, you can, and should, #staysociallyconnected to them. Be proactive about reaching out to others and asking how they're doing — you'll boost your #mentalhealth as well as theirs, since they'll at least experience the perception of support, which research shows can #reducestress.
Use the experience to reevaluate areas of your life. Use the time to reconsider how you want your lives to look after coronavirus and plan how you will work towards it.
We are aware that a twelve point list is long, but we really do agree with all the points and believe that if you try to stick to the suggestions above, that your mental health will thank you.
As promised from the first post about staying healthy during covid19, I am also going to share some ways to keep your mental health in check with local resources here in Bangkok.
The first one ties in with 1, 6, 8, and 10 from the list above, and is to follow @dini_fitmind on Instagram (link here). She offers mindfulness meditation coaching to train you on how to control your mind and become more aware of your thoughts. This type of meditation is defined as a technique to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgement allowing the mind to refocus on the present moment. It's great for beginners who want to start meditating and even regular meditators who want to become more in-tune with themselves. She offers one on one and group sessions, contact her now to learn more!
The next is a few groups of people that have really come together to demonstrate #5 (doing their part in protecting the community by helping the more vulnerable population): Bangkok Charity Soldiers started as a group of friends looking to help the needy in these difficult times. They gather funds for a huge order of food, then deliver it over to struggling areas. Their efforts are focused on helping families and neighborhoods. For more on them, watch the video below:
There is also the Covid Relief BKK group on Facebook that is "coordinating a relief effort to distribute masks, soaps, hand sanitizers, and basic foodstuffs to the most vulnerable groups in Bangkok, all whilst maintaining social distancing to avoid increasing the spread of coronavirus. Covid Relief uses demographics data to identify and locate the most in-need based on age and income, ensuring their efforts are targeted and have the most impact. For every 300 baht, you can provide packages consisting of sanitation items and food supplies for a family (4 people). Requests for some or possibly all depending on donation quantities - masks - hand gels and alcohol - sanitation equipment and detergents - food supplies: canned foods, rice, fruit, eggs, raw ingredients - packaging: cloth bags - protective gear: gloves, face shields, suits. To donate items, please send to Na Cafe at Bangkok 1899. You can easily find this location on Google Maps and send via a LineMan or LalaMove. Packages will be made and delivered on Thursdays. You can coordinate with Fon who works at Na Cafe on 090-040-3335.
My husband is working with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Association Thailand to "raise money to give rice to the needy. One of the places we will be distributing is a place where my staff live. Mostly port and klong toey market workers! If you got alcohol at your wedding or any of your festivities these heroes are the ones that took it there for you. 100 Baht will help purchase 1 bag of 5kg! We are looking for 1,000 bags to help 1,000 families." Initially, VHP will distribute 1,000 packets of rice in the month of May 2020 (every Saturday 250 packets) at several locations in Bangkok. Our efforts may go up to 5,000 packets as we move forward depending upon the situation and availability of funds to support local communities.
To donate, transfer to the following account and share the slip with us at 081-750-9088:
Account Name: Vishwa Hindu Parishad Association Bank Name: Bangkok Bank Account Number: 933-7-02846-9 Account Type: Savings Account
Use this time to help others, it will definitely make you feel better and support your mental health.
Written by Devi Bajaj
Executive Director of Enliven Concierge
Here are some resources related to supporting your mental health during covid19: