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Various Mental Stressors Individuals Face During MCO

16 Apr 2020

In the recent radio interview with Melody FM, Evelyn Soong, Clinical Psychologist, IMU Healthcare shared on the various mental stressors that individuals are currently facing due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Top 5 mental stressors include:
Disruption to daily routines
Lack of physical separation between work and home (for those who are required to work from home)
Health and safety – the bombardment of the pandemic related news and fake news that causes one to be more anxious
Feeling that you are losing control
Lack of social interaction or support – which makes you feel helpless and lonely.

Some tips that Evelyn shared on how to manage and cope with these and other stressors
Make adjustments to your daily routine and change the way you view MCO – for instance, make plans with the assumption that MCO will be extended for a longer time
Plan your “new” routine together with family members and children (if any):

  • This can be done by using items such as sticky notes to create a list of work related (deadlines) and non-work related tasks (house chores, play time, etc)
  • Plan ahead for oneself. For those with children, arrange activities to occupy them in their own space
  • Change into work clothes for those who work from home to distinguish the notion of working time
Boundary setting

  • Maintain clear communications with colleagues in order not to mix work time and personal time
  • Superiors should manage expectation on work productivity due to the change of work environment which will undoubtedly affect the end results

For those who are developing difficulties in sleeping, insomnia is s a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep and is normally caused by (i) health problems, (ii) lifestyle, and (iii) stress and psychological problems.

Managing and Coping with Insomnia
Try to separate your physical space between work and rest area
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Take time to relax and calm down before sleeping
If unable to fall asleep after 30 minutes, get up and go to another place in the house/apartment to relax by doing light reading, listening to soothing music, etc. When relaxed, return to bed
For those who worries and thinks a lot, one can adopt S. T.O.P to help calm down:

  1. Stop: Put aside tasks that you are currently doing. Take a moment and pause. Count from 1 to 10 while breathing slowly.
  2. Think: Reframe your thoughts, for example, telling yourself that feeling anxious will not solve the problem.
  3. Option: Identify and evaluate the available options, then take action.
  4. Praise: Acknowledge and praise yourself once the action taken has been executed.
Apply mindfulness technique where one can sit in a comfortable position and observe the subtle sensation from head to toes to relax.

Tune in here for the full conversation in Mandarin by clicking on the arrow.

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