Structuring Your Perception: The Key to a Good Mental Health during COVID-19

2 depressed

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Enis Hikmet Özmert, a second year medical student at Baskent University Faculty of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

“Positive mental health is not the absence of mental disorder, but rather the presence of certain mental goods…” (1) Accordingly, one can have poor mental health without presenting a diagnosable mental disorder (1) .

The current pandemic and the changes in routine accompanying it, is one where an individual’s mental state may be tested to its limits and where individual action can dramatically increase “mental wellbeing”.

Economic and social strains have an effect, yet in an individual level, the key action required has to do with “perception”. How we approach certain situations in our lives determine the amount of anxiety and stress we feel over them, the “situation” being COVID-19. How we understand and adjust to the pandemic is also dependent on how we perceive different components of it. By adjusting how we approach different aspects of this pandemic on an individual level, we can reduce the mental burden it bears.

Areas where changes in perception, evaluation and reception can make a great difference are;

  • Dealing with the available news and information

Constant stream of COVID-19 coverage, and its sensationalized nature may put you in a false sense of impending doom, whether it is the case or not. So, try to be mindful about how stories and numbers are portrayed and from which source you receive information. Receiving news from international organizations’ as WHO can drastically reduce your stress and anxiety by portraying the actuality.

  • Responsibilities felt towards one’s self and community

You can easily get overwhelmed trying to adjust to an entirely new method of learning and/or working i.e. for assignments. There may be a lot to take in at once. Try to pinpoint what is essential for you to do to keep up, and what you can perhaps do another time. If you perceive the workload as a combination of integrated parts, instead of one big piece, it will be easier for you to manage, instead of stressing over a seemingly impossible task. Furthermore, you may be inclined to feel a sense of duty towards your community. You may think you have to be productive, and “keep up”. Yet, if you are not harming yourself or others in anyway, feel free to divert from the mainstream. That is where you will find your safe space.

  • Breaking down a day

It is critical to discern between this down time due to current circumstances and a prolonged vacation. As such, adjusting to a healthy routine, consisting of dedicated meal times, down times and “productive” times is essential. Having different “chunks” of time will let you organize with ease. Furthermore, even though finding your safe space is important, trying to push yourself in reasonable limits to keep up a routine will act as a constant in this developing situation.

Structuring how you perceive the world around you and breaking it down to manageable pieces is key in keeping a healthy mental wellbeing as an individual. By doing so, you will be the best version of yourself, and get through this pandemic, scot-free.


(1) Keller S. What does mental health have to do with well-being?. Bioethics. 2020;34(3):228–234. doi:10.1111/bioe.12702

About the author

Enis Hikmet Özmert is a second year medical student at Baskent University Faculty of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey. He has been a part of TurkMSIC and consequently IFMSA for the past two years, and is currently the local exchange officer (LEO) of his medical school. He is interested in global health policy and its applications to clinical research. He has previously written a few articles concerning international politics in magazines.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

REACT-EU: EU support to mitigate immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Draghi hands over to banks €77.7 billion more

Here’s the secret to financing a greener future

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Companies that put employees first perform better

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

To beat hunger and combat climate change, world must ‘scale-up’ soil health – UN

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

7 shocking statistics that show the cost of corruption

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

Infrastructural and system barriers to Universal Health Coverage: get in my patient’s shoes

Some truths about the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization

Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for EU nationals

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

These Asian economies invested in their people – and it paid off

Progress made at COP25, despite lack of agreement to increase climate ambition

4 innovation hotspots in the Arab world

This Scottish forest is both a home for wildlife and a boost for the local economy

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit to differ when issued from 10 Downing St.

“There are many converging visions and interests between the One Belt One Road initiative and the Juncker Investment Plan”, Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU highlights from Brussels

Humanitarian aid: EU steps up support in Nigeria for conflict victims

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

No hard drivers in sight to remodel the stagnating affairs of the EU

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

Successful carbon removal depends on these 3 conditions

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

The Free World Experience Report – LGBTQI+ health on the spot

Trump badly cornered at home by agribusiness and steel consumer lobbies: Trade

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

This UK footballer just won free school meals for kids in the summer holidays

MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

CO2 emissions around the world

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Topic: Mental Health in times of pandemic: What can each individual do to lessen the burden?

25 years on from landmark conference, millions of women and girls still in danger: UN deputy chief

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

Why social working cultures are happier and more productive

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

Leading Palestinian legislator calls for ‘new international engagement’ in two-state solution

UN mosquito sterilization technology set for global testing, in battle against malaria, dengue

More Stings?



  1. […] Structuring Your Perception: The Key to a Good Mental Health during COVID-19  The European Sting […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s