Day after day, the news about the coronavirus pandemic becomes grimmer and dominates the headlines worldwide. Businesses are closing or issuing remote work directives, governments are imposing quarantine and we are experiencing a variety of negative emotions.
We are scared. We are anxious. We are sad. We feel lost. We feel vulnerable.
But rest assured, this is normal.
John Forsyth, a professor of psychology at the University at Albany in New York and co-author of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders, said: “Humans find comfort and safety in the predictability of the routines of daily living.” Now, because our lives keep changing dramatically, many are struggling with finding ways to deal with the new reality.
This is an uncertain time: nobody knows how long the pandemic will last or how long it will be until we can resume our regular lives. But fighting against an invisible enemy can be overwhelming. We fear for our health. We fear for our future. For our family and friends. We fear for our jobs. We fear for our livelihoods.
It is true that everyone reacts differently in stressful situations, but we all need to take care of our mental health. It might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive, and yet staying positive is a core factor to cope successfully in a crisis such as this one.
“There is no health if there is no mental health” said the World Health Organization in a statement. The mental sphere is fully part of the person’s well-being, understood both in his/her individuality and in his/her social sphere.
In this period of coronavirus emergency, during which people have been asked not to go out and to maintain social distance, it is important to remove the veil of prejudice and stigma around mental health. Not everyone is able to manage the psychological stress and fear created, and the current situation could worsen pre-existing pathological conditions in patients already suffering from anxiety, stress, depression and more.
Now, more than ever, we all need to take care of our mental health. Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help us cope better with the COVID-19 threat and its uncertainty.
The Mental Health Europe Organization, a European non-governmental network committed to the promotion of positive mental health and the prevention of mental distress, has listed eight ways to look after your mental health during the coronavirus crisis.
(Follow this link to find more information from the Mental Health Europe Organization)
More than anything else, it is important to acknowledge that a lot of anxious thoughts and emotions will show up during this time, and to accept them rather than trying to push them away or escape them.
Don’t be ashamed, we are all in the same situation. Talk about your feelings openly, there is no reason not to ask for help. And, above all, don’t underestimate the red flags because they could trigger a domino effect with progressively irreparable effects.
And remember, everything will be just fine.
Credit featured photo: unsplash.com – Anthony Tran