Check-Up: How do you handle COVID-19 stress?

April 06, 2020

Dear Readers,

As we anxiously and avidly watch the sa ga of the COVID-19 infection, we must all be wondering where and when the nightmare will end.

Many Jamaicans will experience anxiety, stress and depression. So, how do we deal with the stress?

We will feel more or less stress depending on our environment. Stress could be work related or experienced as we encounter a changed social environment as people try to practise social distancing at the supermarket or as we drive to a pharmacy and find it closed four hours early.

Change creates stress! The stress might ease when we get home and feel more relaxed. You might feel more relaxed, as you don’t have to watch your physical environment as closely.

Or anxiety could even increase at home if your relative is being quarantined at home for 14 days. This is the new norm!

People will also be anxious about their jobs and their income. It is difficult not to be able to do ‘simple’ things like hug our friends.

When a situation like this occurs, over which most of us have little control, we must prepare as best as we can for any emergency, disaster, hurricane, which came to our shores. Then, we need to live in the day, live even in the moment. Enjoy the constancy of our Father God’s blue sky! Thank him for the warm weather.

The mango trees are blooming, the fruit trees are bearing fruit. The bougainvilleas give us verdant colour as we walk or drive around. Jamaica remains beautiful!

As we recall our national heroes, we have examples of strong Jamaican people who stood firm during tough times!

But what can we do to restructure our lives and bring order and discipline to our days? We need to do this so that we can become calm and continue to function within our homes and communities.

n If possible, begin your day with prayer and meditation.

n Eat a shared breakfast with your family, especially as the children remain at home and some family members are working from home.

n Discuss a plan for everyone for the day in a family meeting, during or after breakfast

n Share a positive reading from a book of prayers or The Bible with the family at this time, and pray blessings on each other. This sharing is comforting and will help strengthen and calm family members daily.

n Get the up-to-date news and be as positive as possible. You need to know what is happening in your world.

n Exercise remains important. Work out a home exercise regime. Skipping, jumping jacks, lifting weights, using stationary cycles or running 20 times around the house.

n If you’re working from home, set regular work hours so that your work gets done and you continue to earn your living, if possible.

n Help settle children down for homeschooling.

n Set scheduled family meal times. Eat together as a family, if possible.

n In the evenings, play some music, watch TV or a movie on the cable, or read a book.

n Continue to have a structured bedtime for the children.

Also, plan on having two weeks’ reserve food and water for your home. On another level, this planning removes the fear which we carry when we aren’t prepared.

Keep in touch with your church community by phone or WhatsApp, and continue to support the shut-in and elderly even more than before.

Remember, hardship is being experienced by everyone at this time. But relief will come.

When you give to others and plan for others, there’s no time left for fear! In Jamaica ,we believe in God. He remains in control.

Write: Check Up ,PO Box 1731, Kgn 8. Email:

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