How to Build Mental Resiliency while Facing the Pandemic

Jane Santos Kwok, Professional Counsellor
Singapore Counselling Centre

Covid-19 has hit us like never before. No doubt 2020 was a challenging year for everyone and now in 2021, we are still facing it. All of us have not fully recovered from the shock, pain, and difficulties that the pandemic has brought us. Many of us struggle to get through and figure out how we are going to live with this new normal. We still long and hope for the day that it will be like before. Those times where we could travel, meet friends and families without fear of getting the virus, and maintain that so-called stability we had before all this ever happened. But let’s face it, it would not be like before. But we can hope that it will be better. 

Living with the dreaded unknown is extremely unsettling and many of us struggle with mental health problems. The pandemic caught us by surprise that we did not get to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the effects of it. What we can do now though is to work on building our mental resiliency. 

Mental Resiliency refers to our ability to bounce back from adversity. It is being able to cope and use our resources and skills to face difficulties of what life can bring. It is also using our inner strengths to work through setbacks. 

If you are having difficulty building your own mental resiliency, here are some of the ways you can do it. 

  1. Focus on what is important. This pandemic has caused us so many anxieties in life that we never thought we could have. Health, financial stability, work or school concerns are some of the worries that people can have at this time. Those anxiety-provoking thoughts that many of us have are completely normal. One thing we can do to lessen these anxieties is to go back to basics and that could mean focusing on what is important to you. Instead of exhausting your precious energy into worrying, identify what you value most and spend more time on that. Some would probably recognise that family relationships are the most important for them. If that’s the case, channel your energy into enriching your family relationship through quality time and better communication.
  2. Maintain connections. Social distancing and lockdowns made maintaining connections more challenging. Some still prefer face-to-face interaction and have no choice but to utilise online platforms to socialise. Know that even though face-to-face interaction has its advantages, having connections is still better than none. So take advantage of what we have now – the convenience of technology. What is important is to never lose connections with people. Talking to other people can help us get out of our own heads. It gives us a different perspective in life. That is something we need now, a perspective change.
  3. Be accountable for your own mental health. Our mental health is taking a toll now. Depression, stress, anxiety, feelings of isolation are some of the mental health difficulties that people are facing. Monitor your own mental health. Ask yourself how you are coping. If you find yourself having more negative feelings each day. Do something about it. Talk to a friend or seek professional help. Process those feelings and take actions to lessen those negative feelings and behaviour.

Remember that resiliency does not mean an absence of difficulties. It means acknowledging difficulties and learning ways to deal with them. Mental resiliency is a trait that can be learnt and we can do it by taking steps towards it.