Malaysia is currently enforcing a Movement Control Order (MCO) in response to Covid-19. This means that we Malaysians are to STAY AT HOME! The whole point of this is to minimise interactions between us. As a result, the Covid-19 virus will not spread as fast and far. Only go out for the essentials like groceries or getting a packed meal. This will all be worth it when Covid-19 is under better control here. Unfortunately, one side effect of being confined to our homes is the effect on our mental health. In fact, many of us might be struggling to cope with this confined way of life.
Bored at Home?
We are no longer allowed to meet up with friends or play sports or even just hang out at the mamak. While some of us might joke around and say this is what introverts already do, it’s still going to have effects.
Some of us need to interact with others, get a change of scenery, and even exercise to feel good. As much as we love our families, sometimes being with them 24 hours a day everyday for two weeks might be too much. Meanwhile, those who are currently living alone might be battling with loneliness.
Here are some tips on keeping your mental health strong during the MCO.
Firstly, if you are the kind of person who needs to be up and about then find ways to do so. While you can’t go to the gym, you can still exercise at home. There are plenty of exercise videos that you can find online and follow along to. In fact, some of them don’t even require equipment, just your hard work.
Secondly, talk to your friends and family. Thanks to the Internet we can now have Skype calls, Facebook video calls, FaceTime sessions, and WhatsApp video calls. For fun you and your friends could dress up as if you were going out. It isn’t the same as seeing them face to face but at least this virtual interaction is still good.
Also remember to move around if possible. This might be a bit tricky for those living in small spaces but there are ways to go about. Try moving around the house every few hours just to feel like there’s a change. Maybe start the day in your living room, then the dining room, and end it in your bedroom.
For those who do not have the space to move around, perhaps consider changing your actual space. Move the furniture around a little, add a new string of lights, maybe even just hang up a new curtain. See if you can make the same space feel new.
The Serious Mental Health Effects
However, on a more serious note some of you could be struggling with fear and anxiety. Maybe you know somebody who is undergoing treatment for Covid-19. Or maybe just thinking about the uncertainty of Covid-19 keeps you up at night.
Just remember that you are not alone in these situations.
Yes it’s very important to read the news and stay updated about the current situation but overload will spark that anxiety. Learn to read news in moderation. Take a break when it feels like too much.
If you are feeling anxious, practice some breathing and meditation. Remember to regulate your breathing and focus your mind to your body. For some, a coping mechanism could be to stay busy. Consider this a time to clean your pantry, do that art project, or even just bake. Whatever that will help your mind stay calm and the anxiety at bay.
Moreover, keep an eye on each other. In the same spirit of avoiding too much news, also try to avoid letting Covid-19 dominate your conversations. Dig up old memories, make jokes, even just talk about the latest gossip you’ve heard. Chat with friends about things that AREN’T Covid-19.
Meanwhile, it’s not just about regulating the topic of Covid-19. Remember to help each other with any fears or anxiety. Support each other in the best possible way whether it be a simple reminder to wash hands or provide a listening ear to any troubles they have.