Helpful Reminders for Coronovirus Period to Promote Psychological Wellbeing

7 April 2020 / Dr. Helen N. T. Poon (Clinical Psychology)

Hong Kong has been weathering quite a bit over the 6-9 months with the upheaval of protests and now the pandemic of the covid-19. Disruptions that had transcended from the streets to every level of our daily activities. Effects are far and wide ranging from our community, work, home, schools, to individual physical and mental health.

 

Hong Kong has been weathering quite a bit over the 6-9 months with the upheaval of protests and now the pandemic of the covid-19.  Disruptions that had transcended from the streets to every level of our daily activities. Effects are far and wide ranging from our community, work, home, schools, to individual physical and mental health.

Of late, we are inundated with minute-by-minute updates and reports of people who are in the similar circumstances all over the world. It can be hard to take your head away and find perspective. Many are finding the updates distressing and alarming. It is easy to find yourself feeling anxious and perhaps even low from the helplessness of the situation we find ourselves in. These emotions can overwhelm us and we can find ourselves feeling more helpless and lost amongst this time.  It is perhaps helpful to have some reminders to take ourselves away from these constant reminders of risk and uncertainty. As having over-exposure to these messages can be unhelpful and even damaging to our psychological wellbeing.

In times of social distancing, many find ourselves indoors and perhaps for those who have children, will have to take on multiple roles of teacher, childminder, IT support, home-carer whilst still needing to be working from home.  These additional loads can be immense and many a times feel overwhelming.

Reminder 1

[Self-Management]

No one is supposed to be taking on multiple roles all the same time.  It is OK to not be doing a superb job at everything because you are being put into an impossible role. You may need to prioritize certain tasks at different parts of the day (Scheduling ahead of time is a must!), while putting those other tasks on the side for a different time.  Make sure you take breaks in the day to rest yourself! It is like a marathon runner who needs to take the time for hydration. You too need to take a break to literally feed and hydrate too, but also your head need to take breaks to sustain you to last the distance.

Reminder 2

[Attunement & Limit Setting]

Feeling the need to find out what’s happening to our world and community is important so we are not feeling so isolated. Following updates also keeps us informed of preventative measures that are put into place that helps us feel safe. People can also look towards other countries to draw comparisons to get a sense of ‘how bad are we’ in reference to other parts of the world. In comparison, we can perhaps derive some sense of comfort to know that we are not as bad as other places. As much as it may distress us to think that way, it is important to understand the psychology that is our way to seek reassurances under such dire times. It is just a way to comfort ourselves.

However too much of these types of information can be too much and heighten our sense of risk and danger. It is important to curb and contain the number of times we look at these updates and reports to perhaps 1-2 times per day.

Reminder 3

[Positive Direction]

We can be stuck with feeling helpless and a sense of impending doom as reports come in (especially if people are seeing increasing numbers of confirmed cases that are being reported). This will only heighten the sense of fear and helplessness. Instead of worrying about the likelihood of events happening, let’s show love care and compassion to those we do have around us.

  • Check in and extend care by reaching out to others via phone, emails, messaging or video calls. This can help connect people and enhance the support for one another.
  • Prepare or organize favourite meals for your household members.
  • Sit down with your household members and check in with them on how they are doing.
  • Engage with members of your household in enjoyable activities together (e.g. games or home projects).

Reminder 4

If things are too much, you can always reach out to professionals to talk to; YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are a lot of alternative measures being put into place to assist people to seek psychological support. For example, online consultations are set up to allow people to feel less isolated.

Final Statements

Often fear can trap us in a corner, feeling hemmed in and unable to find a way out. We can respond in unconstructive ways. I hope that these small reminders help others to see a little more clearly and perhaps to find positive ways to step forward.  We can find attunement within ourselves to understand why we are thinking, feeling and responding in a particular way.  Learning to set limits is important because if left unmanaged, things can overrun into chaos in our heads and behaviours. Especially in uncertain times, we all need to have a sense of control over our environment. There are ways to gain control, sometimes all it takes is a few reminders.  I hope these reminders help to get closer to a better sense of wellbeing in your own lives.