How to boost your mental health during the extended lockdown
On April 21, Singapore extended its lockdown measures to combat coronavirus (COVID-19) until June 1, as the number of cases exceeded 9,000. With the government’s advice for citizens, expats, and travelers to stay at home for another month, many of you may be bored, frustrated, or lonely. You may also be mentally stressed, concerned about your overall health, or worried about the wellbeing of those close to you.
Previously, Pacific Prime Singapore provided 7 tips to help you stay mentally healthy, and in this article, we will explore some additional tips, as well as provide advice on where to go for free and affordable mental healthcare in Singapore.
Tips to help your mental health and wellbeing
Here are some tips to help strengthen your mental health:
Keep your daily routine interesting
Since you are restricted to staying at home for at least another month, it is best to review your routine and take into account that you will be staying in for longer than expected. You may need to restructure your daily routine to make it more effective, or even change it up a bit so that each day varies and makes life a tad bit more interesting. Do what you’re comfortable with and adapt as you go.
Here are some ways to make your routine more interesting:
- Use your non-dominant hand: Brushing your teeth, using the TV remote, holding cutlery to eat, lifting an object, or writing a note are all fairly routine activities that can be made somewhat interesting by challenging yourself to use your non-dominant hand (unless of course, you are ambidextrous).
- Make a game out of it: Why not add a bit of joy by making a game out of it? If you do a task every day, time yourself, and then see if you can beat the clock. Don’t push yourself too hard. The aim is to add a challenge to your routine and bump up your interest.
- Focus on the details: Imagine you are an artist who is viewing something that you will want to paint later. Suddenly, you really start to notice subtle details that usually go unnoticed. For instance, you are in your study and towards the evening, the sun’s rays seem to diverge to the corner of the room. You look at certain aspects like space and suddenly have a great idea of making it a reading corner for sunny evenings. Things like this only happen when you take a step back and look at the finer details.
For people that feel mentally low or worried about the future, setting goals will certainly help reverse those feelings. By setting a goal, you are giving yourself a sense of control and purpose. In Japan, there is a famous concept called ikigai, and it is a term that roughly translates to “reason for being”. So what is ikigai, you are wondering? Let’s touch on it briefly.
What is ikigai?
Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”) is, above all else, a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical. Combining the Japanese words ‘iki’, meaning life, and ‘gai’, meaning value or worth, ikigai is essentially about finding your purpose in life.
How can ikigai help?
For those at home feeling depressed about the situation, ikigai can certainly help question your purpose and align your feelings so that you can get back up and focus on the present. You essentially search within yourself for what you want, and with each thought, you can carefully craft a routine to help guide you clearly.
In other words, your ikigai is what gets you up every morning and keeps you going.
Be an explorer and try something different
Other than hobbies that you typically pursue, now is also a great opportunity to try something new or even outside of your comfort zone. Try embracing new activities that you were hesitant about before or perceived as not interesting. You could be in for a surprise!
Here are a few ideas if you haven’t tried already:
- Tour Ancient Rome: Ever wondered or heard about the past? Trying going online to learn more about past civilizations like Ancient Rome. This virtual tour of Ancient Rome takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and other famous monuments. Try Ancient Greece or even the Ancient Egyptians.
- Enjoy the Musée d’Orsay: Although traveling is not an option for the time being, that doesn’t mean that museums from other countries are out of reach. Try Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, which is home to an incredible collection of Van Gogh and Cezanne’s artistic masterpieces. Take a look around online.
- Learn a language: Living in Singapore, which is famous for being a multicultural city-state, means you are likely to come across foreign speakers. Use the current time available at home to learn a new language, brush up on vocabulary, and test out your pronunciation.
Who to speak to for free and affordable mental healthcare in Singapore
If you are concerned about your mental health and finding it difficult to cope, it’s important to get help right away. Here are some organizations that can help provide professional mental health advice:
- AWARE Helpline: 1800-774 5935 (for women)
- Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353 5800 (for Mandarin counseling)
- Fei Yue e-counseling Centre: Visit www.ec2.sg or www.egen.sg, or email [email protected] (an online counseling channel for youths)
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-221 4444 (24-hour suicide prevention helpline)
- Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH): 1800-283 7019 (for all mental health-related help)
- Tinkle Friend helpline (by Singapore Children’s Society): 1800-274 4788
(Mon to Fri, 2.30 pm to 5 pm) or chat online at www.tinklefriend.com (for primary school children)
Use Medisave for mental illnesses
If you weren’t aware, Medisave can be used for psychiatric treatment too.
For inpatient treatment, you can use up to SGD $150 per day for daily hospital charges, capped at SGD $5,000 per year.
Under the Outpatient MediSave500 scheme, you can also use up to SGD $500 per Medisave account for 20 chronic diseases including major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, dementia, and anxiety. However, you’ll be asked to pay a 15% co-payment. For reference on these prices, check the Institute of Mental Health’s schemes and charges.
Protect yourself financially with health insurance
For those that are concerned about their mental health, we encourage you to secure a health insurance plan in advance to avoid paying medical fees out-of-pocket.
With policies through Pacific Prime Singapore, you may be eligible to use direct billing, which means that there’s no need to pay upfront before you receive medical treatment.
Also, health Insurance policies are not just for inpatient and outpatient coverages. Policies can be tailored to fit a range of different coverage needs, including dental, maternity, and evacuation plans – and the options don’t end there.
Find out more from our team of experts
At Pacific Prime Singapore, our team of experts can help you find the ideal health plan and customize it to suit every member of your family. By working with the best international health insurance companies in Singapore and across the globe, we can also help you find the best individual health insurance plan, family health insurance plan, and more.
His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
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