The world as we know it suddenly changed in 2020. Alas; just so early in the year when people were still excited about achieving their New Year resolutions; a pandemic hit us. The Coronavirus or Covid-19 is killing so many lives across the world and taking so many people seriously ill.
While the human spirit is accustomed to free will and physical freedom, all of a sudden a new normal is introduced to humanity. As regulations of trying to combat the pandemic are being put in place; the world citizens are introduced to words or instructions of confinement like “Stay at home,” “lockdown,” “social distancing”.
Activities that keep people occupied like going to school; work; gym; travelling; sports; visiting friends or relatives are suddenly restricted or put to a halt. This is alien to the human nature and can have a major impact on the mental well-being of people.
Clinical psychologist Ndoniyamanzi Mdlalose says the need for psychological intervention is beyond and necessary.
“People need emotional support on how to best cope with the effects of the pandemic. Effective coping mechanisms are needed as none of us have never experienced such a global disturbance. Life will never be the same anymore,” observes Mdlalose.
She advised people to try to instantly adapt to the new normal although change is never easy. “In this case, there is no time for people to gradually change. It is almost as if this is forced on us, hence the danger of escalating psychological and mental disorders,” she tells the Observer.
According to psychologists some of the suggested ways that people can take care of their minds is by keeping a regular routine to their day to day activities; limit exposure to news media on Covid-19; staying busy so that they get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression; using moral compass or spiritual life for support and setting priorities so they don’t become overwhelmed by creating a life-changing list of things to achieve while at home.
In a world of advanced technology; staying at home shouldn’t mean being disconnected from our loved ones.
“We may have to self-isolate physically but that doesn’t mean that you’re alone. Keep an open line of communication with all your loved ones,” says motivational speaker and executive coach Sharon Maziya.
She says in light of the Covid-19 and the importance of social distancing during this time it is essential for people to give themselves a bit more loving.
“Make sure to take care of your emotional wellbeing and mental health,” she advises.
One of the ways that people can stay connected with their loved ones is by sending Short Message Services (SMS) through their mobile phones. In this regard, Eswatini mobile service network MTN has introduced the Y’ello Hope 15SMS Weekly bundle. With this service; customers get 15 free SMS’s weekly enabling them to stay connected with their friends and family.
People can also connect with loved ones through Whatsup (chat, audio and video call); Facebook; FaceTime, Zoom, email and many other forms of communication.
While we have no control of how hard the pandemic has hit us and displaced our lives, the one thing we can take charge of is being active in order to take care of our physical health while we stay at home.
Some of the exercises we can do within our confinement are walking around the house or up and down the stairs; dancing to music (this we can do with our children); making sure we are not sitting on tv all day or sleeping a lot but rather engage in active tasks around the house; exercise with skipping rope; do some squats, jumps and many more.
Virtually we can also be connected to sites or groups that are trying to raise awareness on physical fitness. Facebook has groups like Fitness2Flash, Apurvaa Yoga, The Fitness Zone and several celebrity-run and institution-run pages.