As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and more cases are being reported daily in Bangladesh, we must take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves, our families, and our community safe. The most important thing to do now is to stay indoors and practice social distancing, if you can. This sudden change in our day-to-day life can lead to us experiencing feelings such as fear, depression, anxiety, or loneliness. It is also extremely important to stay healthy and connected during these trying times and so, here are a few tips on how to achieve that:

  1. Follow a Daily Routine
    Whether you are working from home or have a lot of time in your hands, try to follow a daily routine from when you wake up until when you go to bed. While working from home, we can easily lose track of time and forget to take care of ourselves or even skip meals. Make sure to keep time aside for yourself and family and stick to allocated work hours. If you aren’t working from home and find yourself with a lot of time in hand, it is best you allocate different hours for different things during the day – whether watching a movie or catching up with friends on the phone. In either case, include activities such as exercise or yoga to ensure you stay fit, eating healthy, playing board games with your family members at home, and make them a part of your daily routine. 
  2. Connect with Family and Friends
    During this lockdown, most of us are spending more time at home with family members than we usually do. For those who aren’t around family, it is good to take time out to connect with family members over a video call – be it Facetime, Whatsapp video, or Facebook messenger – whatever your family is comfortable with. Similarly, reach out to friends. These are tough times and a phone or a video call to a friend can be a huge support to you and could help relieve stress, loneliness or any anxious feelings – and it will make them feel better too. On the other hand, spending a lot of time with family members, especially since we are not going out, can also be overwhelming. So keep aside some time for just yourself alone. It could be your time to read a book, meditate, or just simply some quiet time by yourself to find comfort in solitude. 
  3. Talk About Your Feelings and Ask for Help
    Not everyone likes to talk about their feelings or emotions but given the current predicament, it can be too much for us to process alone. Talk to those closest to you – be it a family member or a friend, and discuss what you are feeling or going through. It is normal for feelings of hopelessness and despair to arise during this time and being able to talk to someone about it can be incredibly helpful. If you think you need professional help, you can book an appointment with Praava’s counselors or psychotherapists by calling 10648, and they can talk to you remotely and help you navigate your emotions better. If you are worried about your employment and the future, talk to friends or mentors who you think can help to guide you accordingly and figure out future solutions.    
  4. Stay Positive
    It is always easier said than done when we ask someone to “stay positive!” but it is also imperative during this time for us to remain positive and not feel helpless. We need to be emotionally agile to adapt to this drastic change. If you are not comfortable with talking to your family, friends, or even asking for professional help, you can write down what you are feeling and maintain a journal just for you. It is always important to be in touch with your inner self while acknowledging and accepting the emotions you are experiencing. 
  5. Limit the News

It is important to know what is happening in your community and in the world, but too much news at this time could be exhausting. Try setting limits on how much news you watch and read. There may be members of your family who are constantly watching the news – advise them to limit how many hours they spend watching news on TV. It is not only good for their mental well-being but also yours. 

Originally published in Dhaka Tribune on 12 May 2020. 

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