The circuit breaker measures have come to an end and although we should be feeling happy about it, we cannot deny the uneasy feeling that still exists within us. When the government announced that Singapore would be entering the circuit breaker mode, most of us postponed our social gathering plans. However, now that circuit breaker has ended, and we are still not able to interact with our loved ones face to face or have a meal at a restaurant, the future may seem bleak for most of us. We may feel that we are not in control of anything and the uncertainty that we are experiencing could increase our anxiety levels.
Most of us could be feeling helpless, may experience some difficulties in handling simple chores such as cooking a simple meal or going to the shop to buy food and some of us may be under pressure to feel lucky (Zhang, 2020). While people may lose their jobs and face financial difficulties because of circuit breaker, most of us are able to work from home and may not be affected financially. This may pressurize us to feel “lucky” since we are still able to provide for our family. However, we tend to compare sufferings, and this does not do us much good. It is a difficult time for many people and no one should be comparing their daily struggles to “prove” to themselves that they are lucky. As long as you feel affected by a situation, comparing does not make you feel better. In fact, you will feel worse than before because you are in denial and also under the pressure to feel good. To cope effectively, accepting the situation is your first step to feeling better. Knowing that we are headed into a recession while being away from our loved ones and feeling uncertain about when everything will go back to normal causes people around the world to feel anxious. But, there are some ways to cope with the situation.
Start by practicing self-awareness daily so that it enables you to know exactly how you feel, and which thoughts are making you feel a certain way. For example, you could be having a hot cup of coffee when you are suddenly hit with anxiousness. Being aware would make you realise that a thought on job uncertainty or not being able to visit your elderly grandparents was the reason for you to feel anxious. When we become aware about our thoughts and how they make us feel, we are able to find solutions for it. If job uncertainty makes you feel worried, now is the time to edit through your resume and reflect on your skills. Then, look out for job offers or skills enhancement opportunities to upgrade yourself. If you feel worried about your grandparents, make a phone call to ease the anxiousness and visit them later.
Most of the time we think that we should not tell anyone how we really feel because we do not want to burden others, or we may fear how others perceive us. However, it is always good to tell others how we really feel and share with them our daily struggles because other people also feel the same way. You are not alone in your struggles. By telling others how you truly feel, you do not need to put the pressure on yourself to “act normal” in front of others and you may also get to hear how other people cope with similar struggles. During this COVID-19 situation, where all of us have to practice social distancing and are working from home, the anxiety and stress we face from trying to balance work and family in the same environment will be familiar to many. So, call your friends to share with them your struggles and to also check if they are coping well!
Humans need to feel like we are in control over our lives. But, in such a challenging time, we are not in control over when we can have gatherings again or when we can travel overseas. If we focus on things that we do not have control over, our anxiety builds up. So, reframe your mind and focus on things that are within your control! For example, create a routine and follow that every day. In your routine, you are in control over how long you exercise, the type of exercises you choose to do and how long you are going to watch a movie or read a book for. When you have a routine, even though you are at home, you gain control over your life and mind because you are always focused on what you are doing and by the end of the day, you know you have accomplished a number of things!
This is a challenging period and it is difficult for many of us to make it through each day. Reach out to your family members and friends to either share with them your struggles for the day, or things that you have accomplished and to also let them know that they can always turn to you if they need someone to talk to. Although we can no longer cry on each other’s shoulder, we can still provide support through video calls! Humans are social creatures who are good at adapting. In any situation, no matter how difficult it is, we always find alternatives and a way out! Even though it may take a while for things to go back to normal, we will get through these dark times together!
- Zhang, J. (2020). Why it’s okay to feel anxious & frustrated over Covid-19 circuit breaker restrictions, explained. Retrieved from https://mothership.sg/2020/05/covid-19-mental-health/