Asher Low from Limitless shares simple tips that can benefit your mental health during this tough COVID-19 season.
With recent news of the tightened measures due to the sudden surge in COVID-19 community cases, it comes as no wonder that some of us are feeling dejected over having to confine ourselves to home again.
As we are no longer able to dine-out with groups of friends, some may end up feeling trapped and lonely.
Asher Low of Limitless, a non-profit organisation set up in 2016 to help youths suffering from mental health issues, shared with Youthopia some steps youths can take to safeguard their mental health while at home.
If you can, keep your day as close to what it was before the reintroduction of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). If you are used to waking up and going to bed at a certain time, try to keep to it.
Maintain your after school/work schedule if you can as well. If you are used to exercising, journaling or watching television at a certain time of the day, keep to it as best you can.
This can allow us to feel like life is going on as per normal, which is good for our mental health.
Understandably, it’s not possible to maintain normalcy all the time as COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives. Travel times are shorter, and we spend more time indoors with the people we live with.
Routines help in such circumstances. A routine isn’t a timetable, but a set of things done in an order that eventually becomes a habit. Routines are comforting as they give us a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation.
For example, after being done with school or work, you can choose to watch two episodes of your favourite show on Netflix, then exercise, have dinner, call a friend, and watch some YouTube videos before bed.
Maintaining this cycle daily will create a routine that gives you a sense of control over your days.
Create a space where you can work, aside from your bed, where no one else can intrude. Keep this space separate from spaces that provide you comfort, like your bed.
Having that sense of control over your own space helps create a sense that you are owning the work that you are doing, even in an uncertain time.
Humans are social creatures, and it is important even in a time of safe distancing that we do not literally isolate ourselves from everyone around us.
If possible, use this time to deepen bonds with family members, and keep up regular contact with your friends and loved ones.
Even if it is not through a video chat, keeping in touch through text also helps – as it reminds you that you are not alone in this situation.
Think about all the healthy things that you used to do to cope with the day-to-day stressors of life: exercise, journaling, painting, music, cooking, meditating, or keeping up your spiritual life and faith.
Don’t stop these habits just because you are confined at home. Even if it’s an activity that requires equipment or going outdoors, find ways to adapt that hobby for home.
Do things that are relevant to that hobby, such as home workouts instead of going to a gym, or honing your solo music skills instead of practising with your band.
This period is the best time to try and pick up new skills and hobbies. These include things we have always wanted to do but never had the time for, or something we did not have the motivation to do.
You could learn a new language or pick up an interesting skill, such as knitting or juggling.
There are many resources and tutorials out there on the internet to help you get started.
It can be difficult to be grateful, especially in these times. Nonetheless, practising gratefulness will help keep us grounded.
Stop and think – what are three things that you are grateful for right now? How about three things that you are grateful for that happened today?
When you are appreciating the little things in life, difficult times become way easier to handle.
If you’re feeling trapped right now, or you’re uncertain about the future, know that this is only temporary and that IT WILL PASS.
The day will come where safe distancing will end, the economy will bounce back, and you will get to see daylight without having to look out of your window. In the meanwhile, stay strong, and stay resilient.
If you are facing mental health issues during this time, the simplest resource to turn to for help would be your friends and family. Keep in contact, have heart-to-heart talks if needed, and spend time with one another.
If you need more help, there are plenty of resources available:
In a crisis, contact Samaritans Of Singapore (SOS) at 1800 221 4444 (24 Hours)
If you are looking for more mental well-being resources, check out Youthopia’s resource page with everything from mental health self-assessments to tips for coping with challenging seasons in life.
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