Feeling stressed, anxious or low? You’re not alone. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many of us have been experiencing stress or worry to some degree, especially since nobody knows when this is going to end. Being cooped up at home hasn’t helped, either. Between social distancing and spending more time on social media, staying home has become the new normal – oh, hey, what day of the week is it again?
In Hong Kong, a complete lockdown hasn’t been necessary, thanks to people wearing masks and staying home voluntarily as a matter of safety and civic duty. But now that social distancing measures are finally being lifted, how should we best transition out of hermit life?
Teresa Chan, a clinical adviser at Mind Hong Kong, has some advice:
1. Acknowledge how you feel
It’s normal to feel worried, stressed or anxious about change. While some people are eager to return to work and “normal life”, others aren’t as excited to get out into the crowds again. Whichever emotion you may be experiencing, try to acknowledge these feelings and accept that they’re normal. Express them by reaching out to friends, family and colleagues for a chat, or through journaling or meditation.
2. Build and maintain a balanced routine to make the transition gradual
Maintaining a healthy and balanced routine will help boost your overall well-being, both mentally and physically. Aim to get enough sleep, eat balanced meals and do some form of exercise regularly. As restrictions ease, people will start resuming their day-to-day activities and connecting more with family and friends again, but there’s no rush. Take it at your own speed and make the transition gradual.
3. Be kind to yourself
The events of the past few months have unfolded at an unprecedented scale and we’ve all had to adapt in some form or another. This has likely been both physically and mentally draining, which is why it’s not only important to acknowledge this, but to recognise the need for self-compassion. Practice self-care by treating yourself kindly, whether that’s with some positive self-talk, online retail therapy, quality time with loved ones or a day off just to do nothing.