• Lydia Ng

6 Ways To Cope With Social Isolation During The Circuit Breaker

At first, the circuit breaker measures seemed manageable. They were certainly necessary. For some of us, we've begun to feel anxious and increasingly disconnected from the outside world. The news turns more grim every day, we crave interaction with other human beings, and loneliness starts to set in. Social distancing becomes social isolation.

"Psychological flexibility, one’s ability to adapt to changing times is a key ingredient to emotional wellbeing. We are all going through such an unprecedented reality that this ability to adapt is heightened," says Mala Khare, M.A., M. Soc. Sc., counselling psychologist at A Map for Emotional Wellbeing.

The distress is very real. Whilst it is only temporary, weeks of social distancing can take its toll on anyone’s mental health and make even the smallest of tasks difficult to do. Here, Khare shares six ways to maintain one's emotional well-being.

1. Remember: It’s not the problem that is the problem, but how we see the problem that is the problem. Rephrase the message your mind hears. "Social isolation", "Social distancing" are heavy on our minds. Think of this as the time to Replenish. Choose any activity like mindfulness, relaxation, meditation, or a walk where you can be with yourself for at least 30 to 60 minutes.

2. Regular routine. You are living through special times, not vacation times. Have a plan for every day of the week, and have a routine for the mundane as well the important tasks of the day. Go to work (even if that's just in a corner of your living room), but remember to set a time to "go home". Log out and check out completely so that you can decompress from work and spend some time enjoying your home life.

3. Review your life and declutter your physical and mental space. Let go off the zillion plastic boxes/phone numbers that are no more in operation /negative emotions for people who do not need to matter such that there is room for appreciation of what you have. When we cannot change the situation, we can change our reactions. Realise you are still in control of your thoughts and emotions.

4. Relax. Give yourself a break -- This is not the time to be setting exercise, career or academic goals for yourself or family. This is "found" time. All that was put on hold can be attended to now. Be it the book you wanted to read, repair your relationship with your mother or rethink your charmed life that now you miss but could not value sooner.

5. It's OK to question your goals and revise your life plans. View this period as a Recess and not the end of our goals – a break from the traditional path. Who knew school/universities could take a break from traditional teaching to lessons via Zoom? If you are missing dressing up, coffee breaks with friends, shopping, adopt the new path to socialise, one that takes away the feeling of isolation and distance. We have Wi-Fi!!

6. Rewire your mind to tolerate ambiguity. Be curious and not fearful of what the future holds. And Renew your membership to a life with twists and turns. Covid-19 is just one of the twists, wait for the turn.

A Map for Emotional Wellbeing

Regus #02-01, 1 Fullerton Road

One Fullerton, Singapore 049213

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