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How to keep sane in a time of coronavirus madness

03/22/2020 06:00AM | 187 views

 BY Unathi Nkanjeni 

As coronavirus continues to plunge the world into uncertainty, constant news about the pandemic can affect the mental health of those having difficulty separating the facts from misinformation.

As coronavirus continues to plunge the world into uncertainty, constant news about the pandemic can affect the mental health of those having difficulty separating the facts from misinformation. 

In SA, there are 62 cases of Covid-19. Worldwide, more than 6,000 people have died.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared Covid-19 a national disaster and implemented travel bans.

Schools will be closed from Wednesday until after the Easter weekend.

South Africans have been discouraged from non-essential domestic travel on all transport modes and social gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned.

Existential psychotherapist Sara Kuburic recommended setting boundaries as a method to deal with Covid-19 anxiety and protect your mental health.

“Boundaries are incredibly important when we are feeling anxious or experiencing a crisis,” Kuburic wrote on Instagram.

Communicating your boundaries in terms of what you want to hear is key and can help during this stressful time, she said.

These boundaries include:

  • “I don’t want to talk about the coronavirus now.”
  • “I understand you are trying to be helpful with your suggestions, but I just need space to experience my emotions.”
  • “If you are not feeling well, please don’t come over.”
  • “I appreciate how informed you are, but I don’t want to receive links to articles and media coverage.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also released advice on protecting your mental health during the outbreak.

The 31-point guide targets the general population, including health-care workers, health facility managers, childcare providers, older adults, care providers, people with underlying health conditions and those living in isolation to try to contain the pandemic.

According to WHO, avoiding watching, reading or listening to news that causes distress or anxiety can be useful.

The organisation suggested seeking factual information from trusted sources once or twice a day.

“The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried,” said WHO. “Get the facts, not the rumours and misinformation”. 

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