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A yoga teacher speaking to students after an online yoga class she gave from home, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday. Find ways to exercise at home, and stay healthy during the MCO. - Reuters pic
A yoga teacher speaking to students after an online yoga class she gave from home, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday. Find ways to exercise at home, and stay healthy during the MCO. - Reuters pic

LETTERS: The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about fear, anxiety and extreme stress among Malaysians. All sectors of the economy are hit and many are concerned that the worst has yet to come.

It is times like this that all governments are put to the test.

Apart from the economic and financial hardship faced by employers and employees and other Malaysians, which have to be addressed by the government through its economic stimulus package, one issue that needs immediate attention is to provide psychosocial support not only to those who need it but to the frontline health workers who are overwhelmed by Covid-19 infected patients.

This is the time for us to take care of our mental health to cope with the worsening Covid-19 crisis, the imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO), acute income deficiency and other issues.

In this connection, the following are some adjustments we need to make to cope with current developments arising from Covid-19.

We travel almost every day — to work, to school, running errands, catching up with friends — so when the MCO was announced, many wondered if they are able to manage two weeks of staying at home.

The practice of restricted movement is to curb the spread of Covid-19.

During these two weeks, it is also important for us to take care of our mental health. Here is what you can do:

1. Be aware of your feelings when you are on social media. It’s hard not to worry about the current situation and many of us turn to social media for the latest news and updates.

It can be stressful reading about the outbreak and not everything on social media are verified. This can heighten our fears.

Limit your time online and only look for information from trusted sources as for example the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation.

2. Share positive and encouraging messages on social media, such as stories of people who have recovered from Covid-19 and stories of our brave healthcare workers who have been working tirelessly and selflessly.

If you can, offer emotional support to those who are in distress or encourage them to seek professional help.

3. Keep in touch with your loved ones, especially if you are staying on your own. Text, call or video call.

Check on those in your community who may have limitations and offer help if you can. If you are interacting with people face to face, please be mindful of social distancing.

4. Eat healthy food, do some light exercise at home and take a rest when needed. Make sure you get adequate sleep.

All these are the basics of caring for yourself.

Perhaps it’s alsoa good time to find new hobbies or catch up with something you love doing but had no time for in the past.

Some activities that you could consider are painting, watching videos online, meditation, tidying up your room, writing a journal and praying.

If you find yourself distressed and can’t manage on your own, please consider reaching out.

Talk to someone you trust, or call The Befrienders KL at 03-7956 8145 for confidential, non-judgmental emotional support.

Stay safe and remember to take care of your mental health in difficult times like this.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Patron, Befrienders Kuala Lumpur

*The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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