Asking for a Friend: Help! Everyone is so stressed about the pandemic. How can I help them?

  • Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources you can turn to
  • This week, we help a student who is depressed about Covid and wants to know how to be there for their friends and family
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How can you help others during the fifth wave of Covid? Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us.

If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google form. Don’t worry, you will remain anonymous!

No one takes my stress seriously because I get good grades

Dear Friend,

Like every other Hongkonger, I’m feeling really stressed out during the fifth wave of the pandemic. What can I do to help people who get Covid, as well as help my friends and family feel more calm and relaxed?

Sincerely, Stressed

My work has tripled during the pandemic, what do I do?

Dear Stressed,

It’s so kind that you’re thinking about how you can help others during this difficult time. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have lived under prolonged, stringent anti-pandemic measures. It is normal that you would feel distressed, tired, worried and lonely, and people who fall sick with coronavirus would feel more vulnerable than usual.

Here are some suggestions that may help you cope with psychological stress and remain positive; you can pass these tips onto your loved ones as well!

Make sure to take care of yourself during this difficult time. Photo: Shutterstock

– Accept your reaction to stress and don’t deny or repress negative feelings.

– Stay informed but avoid overwhelming yourself with updates about the pandemic. Try to read the news for only a certain amount of time every day, and remember to focus on the positives.

– Keep in touch with your family and friends through phone, video calls or text messages. Talking to your loved ones helps you give and receive support and can reduce stress.

How do I show my dad I appreciate him when I’m in poor health?

– Keep a routine and stick to healthy habits, such as healthy eating, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

– Remember to keep up your favourite activities or interests, such as reading, cooking, playing musical instruments or watching films.

– Practice relaxation exercises or do meditation to refresh your body and mind. There are many apps, such as Headspace, that can guide you through the process.

My parents blame video games for my problems, but they help me relax

– Write a post-outbreak wish list to maintain hope and stay positive.

It’s totally normal – even expected – to feel depressed right now. If these feelings persist, please take the initiative to talk to someone you trust or a counsellor.

Stay positive and test negative!

Friend of a Friend

This was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.

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