The New Normal
Life as we know it has changed in many different ways over the past months and weeks. As our normal continues to transform before our eyes, we realize more and more that there is very little we are in control of which can cause stress and fear for us. Social distancing means no time to spend with family and friends to help distract you, added with the daily reminders of the negatives that presently face us. It is safe to say that Covid-19 has affected our lives physically, emotionally and mentally. While there are guidelines on how to keep yourself physically safe during this pandemic, we realize that we also need to be protected mentally and emotionally. According to the United Nations article on Mental Support During Covid-19 some triggers of psychological stress during this time can include:
– Worry about one’s health and the health of family members
– Fear of death
– Fear that the health system may fail us
– Uncertain Future
– Instability due to change of routine
– Feeling of being confined in homes
– Predicted hard economic times
– Physical Challenges (Fatigue, Unable to sleep, Headaches, Excessive eating, Loss of
Appetite, Increase in Symptoms of Pre-Existing Conditions)
– Emotional (Anxiety, Excessive Anger, Depression, Sadness)
– Mental (Unable to Concentrate)
– Behavioural (Developing Addictions, withdrawing from family)
3 Coping Mechanisms
Take A Break
Take a break from the news, social media or anything that exposes you to information surrounding the pandemic. If you are worried about missing out on important developments assign someone you trust to inform you if anything arises that you definitely need to know.
Take Care of You
Make time for Prayer, Reading the bible and Exercise. Be sure to Eat Healthy and ensure you get enough Rest.
Support is Important
Connect with Family or Friends via video chat or other methods of communication. Connect with groups that are presently meeting online to do activities that you are interested in. “We are in this together”.
Take Care of the Elderly & Children they are facing this too!!
It is important that we not only pay attention to protecting ourselves but also the children and elderly among us, they too are facing the psychological effects as a result of this pandemic.
Children are very perceptive and model the way adults respond to this situation so be conscious of how you react because they are watching. As much as some children may take joy in being away from school be mindful that they too are processing the changes and trying to deal with their fears. Let’s ensure we give them a loving, open, understanding space to express these fears. Be honest with them about what is happening in ways that they can understand. Help them express themselves through activities and provide some structure for them as best as you can by creating some routine, this can be benificial. The World Health Organization has produced a story book titled “My Hero is You”, which helps children understand and come to terms with the virus. This can be helpful resource. Link below.
For the elderly, the understanding of their vulnerability can be very stressful and scary . For some elderly who live alone, visits from children and grand-children are what they look forward to however, due to restrictions presently in place they no longer have this special time to look forward to. This can cause feelings of loneliness which can increase mental health issues. For the elderly it is also important to keep a routine or develop new ones to provide some sort of structure. Try some physical activity at home if they are capable, even a simple walk around the home. Mental activity is also important so playing games are encouraged to keep them occupied and their brain active. Ensure that some sort of social interaction is maintained whether it’s through phone calls or some other digital method. Note that some may need extra assistance in this area as they may not be familiar with these methods. Help is available for you and those around you.
Ministry of Health, Mental Health Unit 868-285-9126 Ext. 2573
Elders & Associates 868-622-6594 (24hr Hotline)
Community Mental Health & Wellness Centre 638-8562
Child Guidance Clinic 868-623-2348 868-800-4321 (childline)
Chaguanas Mental Health Centre 868-665-8393
Families In Action 868-628-2333
Lifeline Trinidad & Tobago 868-645-2800 (24 Hours Listening)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let
your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “ John 14:27