Whether it’s staying home because of bad weather, the pandemic or just having to study and do our work can take its toil on us. Staying cooped up in a small space over a extended period can affect us physiologically and emotionally. While some of us may just feel bored and restless, some others can really feel fettered if not outright distressed.
If you are fighting hard to control your emotions, here are some things you can do:
Feel your feelings
If your moods are low and you are feeling anxious and worried, please know that it is normal to feel this way considering the gravity of the pandemic. Some level of apprehension can be healthy as it alerts us to the threat of the virus and helps us to take the right action to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
With our normal activities at a stand-still and not being able to meet with friends can really be upsetting. So go ahead, feel disappointed and sad. Talk about how you feel to your family and friends and don’t bottle it up. If it helps you, crying is cool. Emotional crying flushes out stress hormones and toxins. The body also releases oxytocins and endorphines, the ‘feel-good’ hormone when you cry, which is both calming and self-soothing.
Find healthy distractions that will help you to find relief and regain your balance. Be kind to yourself and engage in things that you enjoy. Watch a movie on Netflix, read your favourite book or enjoy a little of your favourite snack
However, if the bad feelings continue to escalate and you experience physical sensation such as shortness of breath, increased heartbeat, shaking, sweating, nausea, dizziness and dry mouth, you could be suffering from claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is a form of anxiety that can range from mild nervousness to a panic attack. Please get professional help if you are experiencing such symptoms. Or you can call the National CARE helpline during the COVID19 Stay Home period.
Stay socially connected
Humans are social beings and staying cooped up can be trying. But in this day and age, the internet provides the social network that we need. There’s plenty of freebies online these days that will keep you connected and entertained. However, do be mindful of fake news and online predators. Also, spending all your time on the social media is not healthy, do try to work out a schedule so that your day is balanced doing both important and relaxing things.
If the news of the pandemic scares you, be discerning about the source of the information. Remember different countries have different capabilities and resources in fighting the virus. Make sure you get your information from trusted sources like Channel News Asia, Straits Times, WHO website and MOH website. Do not circulate information that does not come from legitimate sources. If the amount of information overwhelms you, then access only one or two sources for the news and limit the amount of time you spend reading the news.
On normal days, most of us live very busy lives rushing from one activity to another. Now is actually a really good time to catch up with loved ones and friends. Take this opportunity to find out more about your parents, siblings and close relations. Listen to their stories and tell them yours.
By the way, if you have older family members such as grandparents who are not living with you, do spare them a thought and give them a call once in a while. A human voice can do wonders to dispel any feelings of loneliness.
However, staying together in a small space over an extended period can cause friction in relationships. It’s good to practice patience and be polite with everyone including our closes of kin. Showing gratitude could really help to throw a different light on someone or a situation that is really irritating you. List down all the bad points about that person and then write a good point next to it. Try doing or saying one thing nice to that person everyday.
Having your space or some ‘me time’ everyday is important. To avoid any eruption in emotions and disruption in relationships, do pre-empt your house-mates and family of your daily schedule or if you are not up to social interaction. At the same time, we need to give our close-ones their space as well. However, if relationships turn really bad and abusive, do not engage with a person if you are likely to be hurt. Please turn to professional help or a trusted adult, if you feel that someone is threatening your safety at home.
Fill your day with the right activities
Plan your day and keep a routine. Even though you may have the whole day at your disposal, plan your day and schedule in activities. This will help time to pass faster and keep your mind gainfully occupied
Exercise – Try creative ways of exercising, there’s plenty work-out videos on Youtube.
Eat healthy – Life can become more sedentary when you are home bound. Eating healthy such as food rich in omega 3 will help up your moods.
Try a new hobby – Many activities which used to help us de-stress such as going to the gym, recreational classes, movies and even shopping may be restricted. But this is the time to be creative and find new ways to try new hobbies. What is it that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time? Now you have time on your hands to try it.
Relaxation – If you are feeling stressed out and anxious about the pandemic, do some relaxation exercises. There are many Youtube channels that helps in relaxation. If you cannot go out for a walk, try looking out the window. Look at nature, greenery or watch a cloud drift along the sky. All these could help to calm down heighten emotions as brief interactions with nature can improve rational thoughts, support a positive mood, and overall well-being.
When you’ve gotten through the day, remember to reward yourself. Allow yourself that chocolate bar or write yourself a little note to say ‘great job for another good day’.
Use your core strengths and keep the right perspective
If the news of the pandemic is causing you to struggle with a lot of fear, negative emotions and your mind is jumbled up with too many confusing thoughts, take out a piece of paper and write down all the problems. Then categorize the problems under ‘things that you can control’ and ‘things that is not within your control’. There are many things that we cannot control at this moment but there are still things that you can do something about. Keeping proper hygiene, wearing a mask, safe distancing and staying home are all things that we can do. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed by emotions our minds create cognitive distortions of the truth. Here’s what you can do to overcome cognitive distortions.
If you’ve experienced other hard times before, think of how you managed to pull through those times. What character strength do you possess that helped you get through the last tough time and how can you use it again this time. Strength of Character can only be developed through challenging times. Take this opportunity to further develop the perseverance and resilience that we need for life’s journey.
Leaning on inspirational stories and quotes can also keep you positive and uplifted in such distressing times. Life is sometimes like a half cup of water. You can either look at the empty cup or the remaining water that is still in the cup. The choice you make will decide if this time is spent in total misery or if you’ll have new and interesting stories to tell when the pandemic blows over.
So Stay Home and Stay Safe!
Shadee.Care is now rewarding you for staying home and staying safe.
Here are all the CARE helplines