The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic is a singular, unprecedented reality that no one is prepared to cope with for a lengthy period of time.

It has caused so much fear and anxiety, because of uncertainties that can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions among adults and children alike.

Indeed, this is a stressful period that could put one’s mental health at risk.

First of all, we need to recognize that we’re going through tremendous stress these days before we can begin to learn how to cope with the current situation.

Secondly, there are changes we must welcome to our lives as we deal with the new realities under quarantine.

When left untreated, stress can lead to depression, which is a harder illness to cure, oftentimes entailing therapy, and medication.

A person suffering from depression may feel a loss of motivation, hatred of oneself to the point of hurting himself, acts of suicide, or substance abuse.

Because our mental health is just as important as our physical health, the Department of Health shared the 12 S’s composed of physical, social, and mental ways that could help anybody who is going through a stressful time.

1. Self-awareness, or being sensitive to your needs, wants, feelings, and boundaries.

2. Scheduling. Organize your time so you don’t drown in work and you’re able to attend to different aspects of your life.

3. Siesta. It’s important to learn how to rest while checking off your to-do list.

4. Speak. It’s important to not keep everything bottled up inside. If something’s bothering you, speak. If you don’t get it, ask. And if you can’t do it anymore, ask for help.

5. Sounds. Music can help you relax, boost your mood, and cheer you on with your tasks at hand.

6. Sensation. We all know how important massages are, no? Even a 15-minute massage can do wonders!

7. Stretching. A little body movement will freshen you and brain up.

8. Socials. Having a support group you know you can turn to, and who has your back, is a great help in dealing with stress.

9. Smile. It’s such a small thing but smiling can do wonders. If not for you, then for someone.

10. Sports. It will not only allow your brain to rest (from the way it’s been working), but sports can also harness another part of your brain, or get it to work another way.

11. Stress debriefing. Stress can be traumatizing. Stress debriefing not only lessens the impact of this trauma, it can also help you recover from it.

12. Spirituality. Believing in a higher being who has you back can take the load off you.

Our anxiety and fears should be acknowledged and not be ignored, but better understood and addressed by individuals, communities, and governments.

Because in this situation, we need to remain optimistic, and physically and mentally healthy, as this will be key to our psychological resilience in overcoming this challenge united as #WeHealAsOne! (April Bravo, PIA)