Maintain regular daily routine, avoid psychological distress during MCO


A GOOD coping mechanism, especially during the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), is needed to avoid long term psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Psychiatric Association secretary Dr Firdaus Abdul Ghani said thus the public is advised to maintain a regular daily routine and a healthy and well-balanced eating habit while staying indoors.

“Exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, minimise caffeine intake and avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. In fact, this would be a good time to stop smoking.

“Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, listening to music and progressive muscle relaxation may help to lessen anxiety. Limiting media time by taking a break from watching, reading, or listening to news including on social media of the pandemic, may also be useful,” she said in a statement here today.

Firdaus said they also could stay in contact with their family and friends through phone or social media to avoid social isolation, and plan for activities to be done together or online-learning that could contribute positively on mental health.

For children, she suggested creating a schedule for learning and relaxing activities to help them cope with the stress being at home all the time.

“Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand. Reassure your children on their safety and the precautions that they need to practice,” she said.

For those patients who require continuous medication and have scheduled follow-ups, Firdaus said it is best to check with the local hospital on the services still available as it might vary according to the settings and resources available.

Those who feel distressed during the MCO also encouraged to utilise the online psycho-social support services made available by the Health Ministry and relevant agencies.

The psycho-social support services provided by Health Ministry which collaborates with Mercy Malaysia can be reached at the following numbers 03-29359935, 011-63996482, 011-63994236 while Befrienders can be reached at 03-79568145, she added.