Lately, quarantine and social distancing have become commonplace, as governments all over the world race to fight the coronavirus outbreak. In Malaysia, our government’s Restricted Movement Order (RMO) has called for citizens to stay in their homes for two weeks, and curb all outdoor movement to only the most necessary activities.
While these are important measures to reduce the spread of the virus, changing our lifestyles so drastically, and in such a short period of time, can feel very disorienting for most. Science tells us that socialising helps stimulate our brains to produce dopamine, the chemical associated with pleasure and reward. This is why, whenever we participate in social gatherings, be it in small or large groups, we tend to feel more energised and happy. Sudden isolation, and losing the freedom to go out and meet other people could create many problems, if not mindfully approached.
The good news is, our brains also respond to other forms of stimulation in ways that release dopamine, thus creating a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. The key lies in knowing which kind of stimuli (besides meeting people) makes us personally feel good, and to engage in these activities as much as possible.
To help you with this, SOLS Health will be sharing a series of support-oriented articles related to staying home during the Covid-19 quarantine period. These Stay-At-Home Revival Kits are packed with tips and advice on caring for your mental health, and are grouped around themes such as Reach In, Reach Out, Grow Beyond and Home Care.
Remember, there are many things we can do to help ourselves stay mentally well during this temporary, more solitary lifestyle. We hope these resources will help you cope with how you may feel while being at home, while continuing to look out and care for others.
- Check out some reliable health care websites to search for ways to keep in good health. There are many resources available such as MOH and WHO’s website.
- Reinvent your look! Maybe there’s a hair style or color that you have always wanted to try, or perhaps you wanted to grow a beard…
- Read a few Wikipedia articles every day to expand your knowledge.
- Use this time for self-improvement. Reflect upon and identify some parts of yourself that you would like to change, set some achievable goals, and work towards them, little by little each day.
- Remember that it’s okay and normal to experience bad days during this time. Be gentle with yourself if you find yourself feeling in a low state, and reach out to trusted friends for advice and support. Once you are ready, try doing an exercise to journal these feelings with a sense of curiosity. Think about what might be causing them, and what you could try doing to feel better. Write down these ideas, and determine to shine bright the next day.
- A good self exploration exercise is to ask people whom you trust to point out the things that they like most (and least!) about you. This way, you can see how others perceive you and evaluate if this aligns with how you view yourself.
- Make a list of things you would like to achieve once the crisis dies down. For example, it could be an idea for a project you have been meaning to kickstart, start but have always been putting off. Write out a plan to achieve your goals, and list down tangible steps to move towards them. Be as specific as you can!
- Use this time to review your financial situation and prepare for future circumstances following the Covid-19 crisis. Now more than ever, it is extremely important to have a financial contingency plan in place, to ensure you have sufficient resources to weather through the prolonged economic unpredictability that will likely ensue after the pandemic has died down.
- Keep track of your daily experiences during the RMO period by journalling or maintaining a diary. Given how unusual these times are, there should be plenty of material to inspire your writing and fill those pages! This personal record would be a valuable keepsake- you might even find yourself having a light hearted laugh a couple of years down the line, as you look back on your thoughts and feelings.
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This article was produced by SOLS Health. If you need someone to talk to, contact them at 018-6640247 or visit their website https://www.solshealth.org , as they provide online counseling sessions in addition to other services.