Coping with our mental health di musim coronavirus

7 ways for young people to stay sane in these wild times.

I know – as if being young wasn’t hard enough! And this coronavirus (COVID-19) isn’t making it any easier to keep a grip on our mental health. Now with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) back in several states, schools are closed (again), events cancelled and memang all we can do is #dudukrumah je. Sapa tak sunyi.

Being so physically far away from everyone, it’s totally understandable if we’re feeling anxious, fedup, lonely, upset and depressed. Like, it’s a pandemic – it’s okay to need to pay more attention to your mental health rn.

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Self-care is key, now more than ever! So here are some hot mental health tips bagi rakan semua thanks to Dr. Lisa Damour, who’s an expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author and monthly New York Times columnist.

1. Calm your anxiety with facts

If school being closed, missing your friends, and being constantly surrounded by alarming headlines and news about COVID-19 is making you feel anxious or annoyed, you are not the only one. And sebenarnya, that’s how you’re supposed to feel. Change can be super confusing and stressful, and let’s face it; there’s been a lot of change these past couple weeks.

The main thing here is to make sure we’re anxious for the right reasons. So, make sure you get your facts about COVID-19 from legit sources, such as UNICEF, World Health Organization and Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia.

>> Read: 7 things young people need to know about this damn virus!

2. Create distractions

Okay, slalunya, our problems fit in two categories: things I can do something about, and things I can do nothing about. The situation rn is mostly in the second category.

But before you go ‘yikes’ and let that feeling cramp your style and break you down, remember that you can always distract yourself from those feelings. Instead of freaking out, maybe read a book, listen to your fave bands, or watch your fave series – these are healthy distractions that will help you deal with what’s going on aaaaaand give you some sense of balance.

>> Checkout: World’s Largest Lesson – Learn about the SDGs Online

3. Stay connected with friends virtually

Not being able to hang with your friends sucks. Nasib baik wassap masih ada! Social media is a great way to connect. And you can get creative with it too: like join the UNICEF KitaConnect or do a virtual boardgame sesh; or even a karaoke singalong. Just make sure to balance out your screen time ‘cause, trust — too much might just make you feel overwhelmed.

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4. Enjoy Me Time

If you’ve been procrastinating on starting that new book or project or workout routine, tunggu apa lagi? Using your new-found time to focus on yourself is actually a great way to take care of your mental health. Srsly, never underestimate the power of doing things for yourself!

5. Feel your feelings

If you’re sad about missing out on some of the best days of your life, it’s super understandable. And honestly, the best way to deal with all these negative feelings is to actually let yourself feel it. Like, it’s okay to be sad and only through letting yourself be sad, will you start feeling better.
Whether that means journaling, or crying, or making art, allow yourself to be sad and process that however you need to. Talking to someone about it is also great ‘cause it’s nice to know we’re not alone in how we feel. But if you need alone time to feel your feelings instead, also no hal – just do what’s right for you.

6. Be kind to yourself and everyone else

It’s important to treat yourself as kindly as you would treat others. But if you or a friend are being bullied or abused, especially online since all of us are living there semasa musim MCO ni, it’s really important to speak up. Tell a friend or an adult so that you can get the support you need – just janji you tell someone k.
We should also be super careful about what we share online and make sure the things we say don’t hurt ourselves or others. #KitaJagaKita, okay?

>> Read our 10 tips on dealing with cyberbullying.

7. Talk to someone

And if you feel your anxiety is getting the better of you and you need to talk to someone, you can reach out to:

  • Talian Kasih 24-hour hotline : Call 15999 or Whatsapp 019 26 15999
  • Befrienders KL : Call 03-7957 1306, 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, 05-5477 933/955 in Ipoh or e-mail sam@befrienders.org.my.

Befrienders are multiracial, non-religious and are available to everyone, regardless of race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation. You can stay anonymous, so takyah kasi nama pun boleh.

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Remember, Self-care is key, now more than ever!

Stay safe. Stay hopeful. Stay active.
We’ll get through this, together.

This article was updated in October 2020.

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Tati Wira

A 20-something fierce believer of children's rights!
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