As the news and cases of COVID-19 pandemic becomes dreadful, following the modified enhance community quarantine and nationwide lockdown. Some of us right now might experiencing a variety of negative emotions. We feel anxious in response to the crisis; sadness related to losing lives of many; anger because of fake news and whatever forces bringing this crisis upon us; and fear and uncertainty as we crave for health safety and financial security. It can drain us emotionally as we trap in a downward spiral of endless what-ifs and worst-case scenarios about our future.
Following evidence-based recommendations for bolstering mental resilience is important to help us cope with this crisis:
Accepting Negative Emotions:
How can you best deal with your day-to-day emotional reactions? What can you do when you are sick, when you have a struggle with your work from home or when you feel provoked by the current news and situations of this pandemic? Oddly enough, the first piece of advice is to accept with the negative emotions.
It is important to acknowledge that you are a human with a lot of anxious thoughts and negative emotions. Accepting negative emotions has been linked with greater psychological health. Acceptance helps keep us from reacting to and thus exacerbating our negative mental experiences rather than trying to push them away or escape them (Ford et. al, 2017). Instead of denying our negative emotions, we can invest our time and energy in discovering or rediscovering what life may offer to us during and after the pandemic.
Most of us might already practicing self-care that protects our health during this pandemic, such as eating healthy foods, wearing facemask and gloves, frequent hand washing, drinking water and vitamins, doing home workout exercise or ensuring we get enough sleep. Well these acts are not sufficient to protect ourselves.
During these unprecedented times of self-isolation, social and physical distancing, we must all take steps to ensure we stay mindful and healthy. Self-care also plays an important role both for individuals and for health systems. According to WHO (2019), it is important for every individuals to be well-equipped and has the ability to make informed decision and make use of available health resources is an important contributor to the successful management of this crisis. New selfcare routines will give us mental strength by being well informed about the pandemic and avoiding fake news. Selfcare helps us avoid stigma, improved our mental well-being and increase the agency and autonomy during this pandemic (WHO, 2019).
Reflect and reframe
It might help to reflect that these challenging life crisis offer several avenues for positive growth and an opportunity to deepen our relationships with the people in our household and our community. Practice of self-reflection and mindfulness undoubtedly increases resilience during hard times, and aids in the recovery from a crisis (Arldet and Grunwald, 2018).
Reframing ourselves and having positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with life crisis increased appreciation for life in general, create more meaningful interpersonal relationships, an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual life (Tedeschi and Calhoun, 2004).
The current COVID-19 pandemic is forcing on us a “new normal” where we still need to practice social distancing, work from home, online schooling, and make other behavioral changes.
Our spirit of camaraderie, resiliency, and movement of mental health as your priority aside from your health should resonate with all of us as we prepare for what lies ahead in the “new normal".
Ford, B. Q., Lam, P., John, O. P., & Mauss, I. B. (2018). The psychological health benefits of accepting negative emotions and thoughts: Laboratory, diary, and longitudinal evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(6), 1075–1092. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000157
What do we mean by self-care? (2019, May 15). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/self-care-interventions/definitions/en/
Ardelt, M., & Grunwald, S. (2018). The Importance of Self-Reflection and Awareness for Human Development in Hard Times. Research in Human Development, 15(3-4), 187–199. doi: 10.1080/15427609.2018.1489098
Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). TARGET ARTICLE: "Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence". Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1–18. doi: 10.1207/s15327965pli1501_01