Coronavirus: Stay mentally healthy with these WHO guidelines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says we should be empathetic around this time. Those who have been affected, deserve our support, compassion and kindness.

We can all agree that our physical health depends a great deal on how we are doing mentally. Stress and anxiety have the power to bog us down. Which is why it is important that we take care of what we are feeding our mind, especially around this time, when there is widespread fear of the novel coronavirus.

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While we had earlier reported on what experts recommend to fight anxiety, here are some WHO-issued guidelines on what you should be doing right now, instead of panicking and making it worse for everyone around you; read on.

For the general public

It has been established that COVID-19 has gripped the world. It has affected people from different nations and geographical locations. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says we should be empathetic around this time. Those who have been affected, deserve our support, compassion and kindness. It is, therefore, necessary that we do not refer to them as “COVID-19 cases”, “victims”, “COVID-19 families” or the “diseased”.

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Limit watching, reading and listening to news that can make you feel more anxious and distressed. The WHO says we must seek information from trusted sources only. We must not only protect ourselves, but also others. We can check in on our friends and neighbours on phone and assist them in this time of need.

It is also important that we find opportunities to “amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people who have experienced COVID-19.” Like the stories of people who have recovered, or who have supported a loved one in their recovery process.

For healthcare workers

Those working in the healthcare industry are likely to feel under pressure, given the circumstances. Which is why, WHO says that stress and its associative feelings do not reflect that you cannot do your job or are weak. It is important that you take care of yourself. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. “Try and use helpful coping strategies such as ensuring sufficient rest and respite during work or between shifts, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends. Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs,” suggests WHO.

Staying connected to loved ones digitally can be good for mental health, too.

Care providers for children

The WHO says that it is important that you allow children to find positive ways to express fear and sadness. It recommends that children be kept close to their families and their caregivers as much as possible, if considered safe for them. Also maintaining familiar routines, or coming up with new interesting ones, especially if children are home, can be useful. Discussing COVID-19 in an honest and age-appropriate way is recommended.

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For older adults

Just like with children, older adults also need to be told, in a simple way, about what is going on. The information given to them can be repeated whenever necessary. Remember to be clear, concise, respectful and patient. If they have an underlying health condition, ensure that there is an access to medication. With them, too, it is important that you maintain a regular routine or create a new one in a new environment.

For people in isolation

It is imperative that you take care of yourself most, if you are in isolation. Stay connected with other people via social networking, and stay as close to your daily routine as possible. “Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective,” suggests WHO.

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