It matters to stay calm, stay home, and stay healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people and families around the world. Our idea of “normal” has changed—now and for some time in the near future, no longer can we gather in public or come into contact with strangers or acquaintances.

As of April 22, over 6,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the country, with the death toll rising every day. But we mustn’t get disheartened. Recoveries are also rising each day, most of the time even outnumbering the deaths. Even so, we need to take care of ourselves and our families. Health is the top priority in times like these.

When it comes to health, it’s not just the physical aspect we’re talking about. It’s also important to make sure that one’s mental health is kept in check, because that’s what make us well-rounded individuals. During this crisis, it’s important for families and individuals—especially overseas Filipino workers who are miles away from their loved ones—to stay positive, so here’s how.

  1. Read (or listen to!) inspiring and/or feel-good books. Books and storytelling allow for escapism, so if you need to distract yourself from the world outside or need to feel positive during these times, grab your favorite book to reread or look for new ones. There are plenty of e-books and audiobooks out there, and some places have even started offering free subscriptions for 30 days to encourage reading. Pick up a romance novel, some chick lit, a funny autobiography, or even some fantasy books, and get lost in the a make-believe world.
  2. Reduce the use of social media. Social media can get toxic, so lessening your use of it will help you stay positive during times like these. Use social media sparingly, and there are apps to help you with that. If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram a lot on your iPhone, set a time limit that will close the app after the minutes or hours you’ve set. You can also delete these apps from your phone altogether, so that you only go on them on your laptop, which lessens the temptation of getting lost in an infinite scroll of information and news.
  3. Chat with your family and friends. Even after deleting or lessening your use of social media, there are still messaging apps that you can use to keep in touch with your friends and family. Use Viber, WhatsApp, and Telegram to talk to your loved ones on video. Make it habit to talk to them every week, especially if you’re living alone or if they’re living alone.
  4. Play games with your family and friends online. Nowadays, thanks to technology, friends and family members can play games together even if they’re in different countries. You can play multiplayer games on Steam, like Jackbox and Stardew Valley, and just do screenshare on Google Hangouts or Zoom.
  5. Verify your news sources. Now more than ever, it’s important not to fall victim to fake news because these can really lead to negativity. Make sure that the news site you’re reading from is verified and credible before passing on the information you’ve learned.