Mental health in a time of crisis
May 28 2020 01:00 AM
Shefa Ali
Shefa Ali

By Shefa Ali

Now more than ever, we need to be responsible with the information that we share and forward. There is so much misleading information circulating online about coronavirus – from bogus health tips to speculation about government plans.
There are so many lists of tips and advice – some true and some straight up harmful – which are constantly circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
The unprecedented level of real-time information at our fingertips is giving people the tools they need to make smart decisions, but at the same time is making them more anxious about what’s to come in the future.
You never know what feelings these videos and posts may trigger, my concern is the state of the world’s mental heath right now. In the face of indefinite isolation, financial uncertainty, with no return to normality in sight, coronavirus is taking its toll on our collective mental health.
People deal with anxiety in ways that can be either harmless or harmful – from binge-watching TV to comfort eating. If the worry gets overwhelming, try putting aside a set time for it, say 30 minutes a day. This might seem counterintuitive, but it can actually help reduce worrying.
Limiting daily news consumption is a good idea, if you’re losing sleep over what’s happening or you’re unable to concentrate on anything other than the risk that someone in your life has, you should probably consider lowering your dose of media to once a day.
Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude, consider focusing your attention on long-avoided tasks, reorganise, or create something you’ve always wanted to.
With all the additional time you have on your hands use it to do something special with new rituals. This could entail a walk first thing in the morning, starting a journal, or speaking to a family member or your best friend every morning by video call. Having a special ritual during this time will help you look forward to each new day.
If you experience symptoms of stress and anxiety and you feel they are limiting your ability to function, please speak to an experienced mental health professional as soon as you can.

* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa,  Website:

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