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COVID-19 pandemic presents opportunities – psychotherapist

Published:Friday | July 31, 2020 | 12:07 AM

Dr Sidney McGill, a psychotherapist, said the COVID-19 pandemic presents opportunities for unity on the rejection of racism.

“One of the benefits of the pandemic is that it has made us realise that we are connected. It is destroying the illusion that we are divided. We individually catch diseases; we catch diseases as countries; we catch diseases as a human race,” he identified.

Dr McGill made the observation while addressing the steering committee of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) recently.

He voiced that the pandemic has propelled the world into a new normal and has brought social and spiritual biases to the forefront, such as racism in North America and, in Jamaica, the issues of classism and sexism.

Time of reflection

“The pandemic forced us to be more family conscious, to be more introspective rather than being usually distracted by our normal daily routine. It has brought to the surface social diseases such as racism and mobilisation of the Black Lives Matter movement, which resounds across the globe,” he pointed out.

Dr McGill said as a country, we have to learn to deal with opposite views and to engage those who have different religious beliefs far from ours.

“We need to move away from certitude, where we think that we absolutely know; but do we really know? So, I want us to have a beginner’s mind. Start fresh every day. Learn something new every day. Life is constantly changing,” he said.

Dr McGill, who is also a board member of the VPA, was addressing the association on the topic, ‘Stress is what you make it’.

He encouraged persons to deal with their stress with activities such as prayer or devotion and exercises, which, he advised, release opamine in the blood stream and assist persons to deal with stress in a manageable way.

“Dance, yes. It doesn’t have to be every day. Play your music and move to the rhythm, and let the muscles move in faithfulness towards your creator,” he said.

He advised that outdoors, fresh air and gardening activities play a crucial role as stress reliever.