Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How to Deal with some of the Negative Mental Health Effects of Community Quarantine

Photo by Jon Eric Marababol on Unsplash

We are in the midst of a situation that is full of uncertainty. It is not easy for many of us to accept the
reality that we are suddenly faced with. For a number of us, it meant giving up means of making a living in order to prioritize public safety. There are many questions brought about by this enhanced community quarantine: How long will this last?  Where am I supposed to get the money that I need? Will we be able to return to living the way we are used to?  Will I still have a job to go back to?  Will my loved ones remain safe throughout this time that we are tasked to stay within our homes?

A group of life coaches, and consultants, led by Coach Mayorganized, and started an E-NUMAN yesterday, March 24, 2020.  E-NUMAN is an online meetup via Zoom Chat Room where everyone shares stories, listens, and connects. The topic yesterday was "Conversations Surrounding the Current State of Humanity", here are excerpts....

Amidst this situation, we gather in search of a glimmer of hope: How can we help ourselves and others to nurture a space for positivity so that we may respond to these challenging times?

We start with being aware-noticing, acknowledging, and accepting where we are now, both externally
and internally.  What have the past days been like for you? How have your feelings been through the days that have passed?

Taking time to let all of this sink in can be empowering in this time of uncertainty. Whatever the duration of this new set-up may be, the present reality is that many of us are confined to our homes while others are tasked to continue on with delivering the basic needs of our community. Step back and take a look at how you are reacting to this new situation. Be open to noticing both the good and the bad that is present right in front of you.

Now is a good time to connect with our loved ones who are with us at home or to make good use of
technology to have kamustahan conversations with our own support systems; connect and talk about it. There is no rush to get back to regular programming because this situation is new for many of us. 

Being open and understanding is valuable, as well for there are many people who are struggling to get their facts straight, and who are looking for someone who can listen to the worries that are very real for them at this point. 

Let us be kind to ourselves and to one another as we allow spaces where we can be honest about what is going on.

credit: themindfulword,org

We may find that in taking our time to notice and to acknowledge, it can become easier to accept and adapt to this new situation. As we slowly get a handle of the facts about our situation, we are then presented with an opportunity to be intentional in the choices that we make.

At this time when all emotions are heightened by the crisis we are facing, it is easy to get triggered by what we see and what we hear. This is especially true in the realm of social media where there is a continuous barrage of updates and opinions. Tapping into our ability to be intentional about our choices is a conscious decision to allocate our energies to what is truly valuable for us. 

For some, it may be valuable to participate in online discussions in hopes that they may be able to see eye-to-eye.  For some, it may be valuable to give appreciation through words or deeds for the ones who are diligently continuing their service to the community.  For some, it may be valuable to spend more time offline to enjoy the rare opportunity to be with family and loved ones whom they hardly see. And the list goes on.

The choice to be intentional involves shifting our paradigm from wallowing in the depths of uncertainty to stepping up to the challenge of navigating through dark and stormy weather. Whatever strategy works for us, the invitation is to believe that each one of us is capable of taking action.

Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

There are many forms of action that people may want to take in this time of community quarantine.

1. Create New Strategies: Many things needed to be postponed and even cancelled due to the developing situation. Still, life goes on for all of us and there are challenges that have yet to be solved. Our resourcefulness and creativity can be channeled to making things possible even if it is just one solution at a time.

2.  Initiate Conversations: Schedule regular online kamustahan conversations with your respective social circles. It can be meaningful to not only check in on one another but also to continue growing and learning as a community faced with a big unknown.

3. Stay Grounded on Facts: Reading up about the situation may help those who are having a hard time to grasp the realities of the situation. It can also instill hope in people who are very fearful of what is going on. Diligence is key in making sure that we get our facts straight.

4. Be Calm: The uncertainty can be daunting at times and so it helps to take a pause in order to return to our center. Whether through prayers, meditations, a warm glass of milk, a cup of tea, some dark chocolate, a dose of sunshine, cuddling with a pet-allowing some time when we can let go of our worries is good for our mental health and allows us to return with more focus to tasks that need to be

5. Make Time for Gratitude: Taking time to be grateful allows us to include in our consciousness the good that exists alongside the bad. Sustaining this balance puts us in a position where we can stay
empowered to rise up to the challenges that are still up ahead.

As we continue on in this time of great uncertainty, there is one more thing that is worth noticing and reflecting about: our being human is very much alive

Stripped away of our daily routines and our worldly concerns, the situation has created an opportunity for us to see who we truly are as human beings. There is good that exists with the bad and it is worthwhile to pay attention and to affirm the good that we see.

You see it in the compassion of people who are worrying for those left on the streets.

You see it in the care of people who are sending food and supplies to those who are risking their lives in order to serve.

You see it in the faith of those who are praying for grace that a solution may be found.

You see it in the trust of those who continuously cheer for and believe in the efforts of professionals.

You see it in the generosity of many who are sharing their resources so that others can have options
even while in quarantine.

You see it in the attentiveness of people when someone sounds a call for help.

You see it in the cooperation of those who strictly follow the guide lines and who keep others accountable as well.

No one is exempt from the effects brought about by the changes that have been pouring in. It is only with great humility that we can acknowledge and accept that there are many things that are beyond our control. Still, there is reason to hope and trust because just as you are doing your best to put a stop to this disease, there are so many others out there who are also putting their best foot forward to respond to this situation.

May bayanihan na nangyayari sa labas. Maraming magagandang kwento. Naririnig nating nagtatanungan, nagkakamustahan ang mga tao.

The similarity in the situation of humanity throughout the world is a reminder of our oneness as human beings. Tao tayong lahat. And because we are human, we can go beyond our comforts and rise above the situation that we find ourselves in.  It is beautiful to see people not succumbing to the mentality of "Pwede na iyan!"" or "Bahala na si Batman!"  It is inspiring to see people remembering that part of them are those people who have no homes to confine themselves into, those people who are worried about their livelihoods, those people who are risking it all in the frontlines. It is meaningful to hear people redefining their standards of what makes a good leader while also being accountable as responsible citizens helping our nation.

Tinuturo ng sitwasyon kung ano ang totoong pakikipagkapwa. Ang totoo pala sa atin, ang natural sa atin, ay meron tayong pakialam.  Buhay na buhay sa panahong ito ang pagnanais na sama-sama tayong makalampas nang walang naiiwan.

If this battle feels endless, it is only because we care for the least of us.
Pagbabahagi sa Sangkatauhan. 
Lakas ng Loob.

These are just some of our values as Filipinos that enable us to move forward in this time of uncertainty. While we accept the reality that we find ourselves thrust into, no longer are we settling. We are not just resilient people. We are also capable.

Everyone is invited to join CoachMay in their next E-Numan Sessions, Tuesdays at 2:00-4:00 PM.  Check Join Zoom Meeting link HERE
Meeting ID: 730 271 312
Password: 029482
For more info, please visit CoachMay on Facebook.

Coach May is one of the pioneers of life and corporate coaching.  Acknowledged as Top 100 Coaching leaders in 2017,  she's also one of the pioneers of Life and Corporate Coaching. CoachMay Inc. (CMI) does Training, Consulting and Coaching to both individuals and organizations.  Email them at or call them +63917-8463405.


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