Our Senior Programme Officer in China, Chen Ting Ting, gave her colleagues at the institute some advice from her experience in Beijing in these difficult times with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Please see her best advice below:
- Limit time on media and social media about outbreak-related information if it escalates your anxiety or plants new worries and fears.
- Get your information from reliable sources, such as local official sites (challenging in some countries where information is not easily accessible or censored), WHO, or one or two trusted and neutral bloggers in your country (this is very important especially in places when information is not transparent).
- Don’t spend excessive amounts of time dwelling on the situation and reading copious amounts (This was what I did in the first two weeks when the outbreak just began in China which made me so exhausted and anxious). The basics are sufficient. Find positive things to focus your attention and energy on. (Believe me, this is extremely important!)
- Be cautious and safe and take reasonable precautions but keep things in perspective. Use this increased time at home to do what is best for you, it can be just relaxing and resting, or continue with what you were longing to do in the past but had no time to do so. Following the RWI blended-learning course on human rights and the environment is one of the things I have been doing.
- Keep regular contact with your friends or your colleagues over phone, Zoom or FaceTime, share your thoughts and concerns.
- Keep a routine. Dress as you are in the office. This makes a huge difference to me at least. If your day starts early in the morning, remember to stop work early! It is hard to get off from your screen sometimes (I’m still struggling on this as well), but we all need to remind ourselves to go offline from work when the time is up:). Take breaks in between working hours is important too. You can have a cup of coffee/tea and turn your favourite music on or do some stretches to relax your body.
- Keep engaged with colleagues, actively participating in working meetings and activities organized digitally.
- Jogging in the fresh air and get sunshine is extremely important! This may not apply to colleagues from some locations, depending on local regulations during the outbreak. When the outbreak just started in Beijing in late January, the rules in Beijing were not as strict as other places, we were still able to go out for groceries, walking and running in the parks. I found running in nature really helps me to ease the stress.
- Respect and follow local laws and regulations during the outbreak. Follow local official websites for the latest updates and regulations on the outbreak.
- To add a little fun in these challenging times, you may also share with your friends or colleagues, posts or pictures of the fun things you do to get inspirations from each other. It works for me!
- Always stay positive, stay active, believe that this will pass eventually, life will get back to normal, and in the meantime, we are competent and capable to handle the challenge and support from family, colleagues and friends are available.
Best regards, Chen Ting Ting