Article written by By Dr. Ava Ghasemi, Psy.D., C.Psych., Clinical Psychologist at the Mapletree Center DMCC, March 29, 2020
It’s safe to assume most of you know what Covid-19 is and why we are in a global crisis (and if you don’t know coronavirus well enough, that’s ok click here https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
The truth is pandemics, outbreaks, quarantines are all new to most of us. So while we are learning more and adjusting day by day, let’s consider these:
1.This is hard and it is meant to be. Let’s manage our expectations. So if you’re struggling and frustrated, feeling lonely, experiencing fears, this is all to be expected as we’re tackling this as a society and as the whole world is trying to cope.
2. Let’s be mindful of our own triggers. Anyone who has been through war, mass migration, other epidemics, and societal trauma may feel extra on edge, triggered, irritable or sad. These are the survival instincts kicking in. Listen to them, don’t ignore them, think of them as friendly advice from someone who has been through this before, but don’t let them take over. How you might ask? Read #3.
3. Acknowledge your emotions, name them, say to yourself “this is hard, I’m not alone, what can I do now to help myself and focus on the things I have control over.” For example, call friends and family, preferably someone who is not feeling debilitated by the pandemic but can understand what you’re experiencing. Over-optimism is just as isolating as super negativity. So find someone with a balanced view and attitude to speak to.
4. Be kind! This is a time to come together (from a distance). If you are financially better off than others, help them until they get back on their feet. If you need help don’t isolate. Even getting some free help like babysitting so you can take a nap or do some exercise at home is worth asking for. Do whatever it takes and get and give whatever help possible.
5. Be responsible but don’t shame others. Educate those around you but be careful about judgment, shaming, and stigmatizing others who for example have just come back from a high risk country or who make different choices. Share your concerns but with compassion.
6. Assume this will have some sort of a long term impact on everyone’s life, so plan accordingly. Don’t panic but also don’t avoid. If this means having to look for a new job, downsizing your business, moving back to your home country once things have stabilized, start having these conversations with people who are calm and who care about you and think through some of these scenarios. Know that no matter what, you will find a way to cope! And if you don’t believe you can cope, talk to your therapist!