FOR many, surviving the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) means having three meals a day. To others, survival means maintaining sanity throughout the lockdown. Losing the liberty to go around and enjoying life as it was before Covid-19 is becoming unbearable. Normal activities like malling, strolling, eating out, office work and coffee time are sorely being missed. Note that by this time people should be out in the beach enjoying summer.

After initially indulging in tik-tok, homeliners are looking for something else to while away their time. There are jokes going around social media about people talking to plants and animals. Sometimes even to walls and statues. The danger sign, as some of the jokes say, is when these plants and animals start talking back. Then you need to seek psychiatric help.

Boredom is not just the enemy. The bigger concern is fear, anxiety and stress. The uncertainty of the future, the fear of contracting the disease and losing jobs or businesses is gripping the populace. The pandemic has started to take its toll not just on people’s physical wellbeing, but on mental health as well.

Some mental health professionals have recognized this need and are offering free online consultation for those who are suffering from mental health problems. The World Health Organization is aware of this so it came with an advisory. Here are excerpts of the document:

- Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about Covid-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not rumors and misinformation. Facts can help to minimize fears.

- Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people who have experienced Covid-19. For example, stories of people who have recovered or who have supported a loved one and are willing to share their experience.

-Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help create new ones in a new environment, including regular exercising, cleaning, daily chores, singing, painting or other activities. Keep in regular contact with loved ones (e.g. via telephone, e-mail, social media or video conference).

-During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food. Keep things in perspective. Public health agencies and experts in all countries are working on the outbreak to ensure the availability of the best care to those affected.

Yes, it’s true that the economy is affected and there is danger of losing jobs and livelihood. But we’ve been through the Pinatubo eruption, the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the global financial crisis in 2007.

Somehow, we managed to recover. With God’s help, we will also overcome this crisis.