Sick of Social Distancing?
The Singapore Women's Weekly|June/July 2020
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Sick of Social Distancing?
Even with the easing of Circuit Breaker rules, social distancing remains necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19. If you’re experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness, try these suggestions to boost mental and emotional resilience
Natalya Molok

To rein in the escalating COVID-19 transmissions, the Singapore government introduced a slew of Circuit Breaker measures meant to keep Singaporeans at home. Those who flouted the rules by gathering socially, for instance, were fined $300 on the first offence.

As necessary as these strict measures have been to contain the spread of Covid-19, they can lead to feelings of intense loneliness and isolation – humans are social creatures, after all. But there are strategies to help you weather the emotional storm of social distancing and it has to do with building up your resilience, so you can give your mind a break from the stressors of what’s happening in the world.

Fortunately, emotional resilience is a skill that anyone can learn and build on. In fact, practice makes perfect, says Dr Tim Sharp, founder and “chief happiness offer” of The Happiness Institute. “Unfortunately, most people are unprepared emotionally when a crisis hits,” he explains. “But I liken it to a fire drill – if you practise strategies to strengthen your resilience before anything goes wrong, you’re less likely to panic and more likely to make better decisions.”

How do I boost my resilience and catch a mental break?

Practise Realistic Optimism

Resilient people are better at keeping things in perspective. “It might sound obvious, but it’s not easy to do when you’re stressed out,” says Dr Sharp. “Less resilient people will often make mountains out of molehills, or curl up in a corner and think ‘This is terrible, it’s always going to be terrible’, which just makes things worse. Resilient people acknowledge that a situation is bad, but they’ll say things like ‘It’s not that bad’ or ‘this won’t last forever’. By remaining calm and objective, they’re able to cope better.”

Take Action

Taking responsibility for how you manage testing times is an empowering way to boost resilience. According to Dr Sharp, people who are emotionally strong don’t focus on their faults, limitations or weaknesses, nor do they excessively blame themselves when something goes wrong. “Instead, they ask themselves these important questions: ‘What can I do about it?’, ‘How can I change it?’ or ‘How can I make it better?’ They take affirmative action and that’s what resilience is – facing up to the cold, hard reality of a situation and dealing with it in a constructive way.”

Draw On Others

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June/July 2020