The Department of Psychology at HELP University, Malaysia, brings you our ‘5 Keys Series’ providing five practical tips on five topics to help you stay mentally, emotionally and physically strong. Drawing on evidence-based psychology, you can be sure of getting 5-star quality insight and guidance from HELP University: the university of achievers.

The first of our ‘5 Keys Series’ is called “The 5 Keys to Good Mental Health during COVID-19”. Be sure to watch this space to get regular insights into the psychology of everyday living.

Hello and welcome! I am Professor Dr. Lianne from the Department of Psychology at HELP University.


Today, join me in exploring five key ways for families to stay sane when stuck indoors!

Check our schedule Have a routine. Regardless of whether you have a family, a partner, or are solo, establishing a daily routine helps “stabilize” us when there is no certainty in what’s happening outside our home. *Schedule your day, *work 9-noon, *break, * work 1- 5:30pm;* prepare the main meal, eat, have lunch, have afternoon tea, clean dishes, wash floors, exercise. Try this schedule for free, or spend time together searching and find one to do with your kids, with your partner or solo!

Let’s PLAY! Play a game, ensure to include FUN time – playing can include indoor or outdoor activities and can be done solo (preferably OFFLINE) (but if solo there are so many options from scrabble, to chess, to cards, to TikTok, to… ASK your friends, and your partner and your kids). Listen to music and DANCE like NO ONE IS WATCHING — include your dog if you have one for running and chasing. Sweat it out. And let the stress go. Note how you felt before you started and how you felt after playing. Here’s a family TikTok for you to try! Research and pick one that makes you smile and laugh. We need more smiles and laughter.

TUNE OUT of the net Ensure that you are turning off that net and turning off that screen! When playing a game choose non-screen games. Read that book you haven’t got to. Learn how to sit and watch the trees outside your window or the butterfly flying in the garden. Garden, dig in the dirt (even if it is on your balcony). Shut off that 24/7 “noise” and breathe. Do that yoga class (OK, make wise use of the net). DO take time away from your “work”. Set a timer. TAKE a 1-hour lunch break and listen to music. No screens! No Netflix! No YouTube! It’s just you and your tea/coffee, your book, your journal, your chess or card game or any of the games below. Think OLD SCHOOL! This downtime allows our brain to reset and neurologically process what has gone on before. Pushing the “reset” button helps us cope with the impacts of external stressors over which we have little control.
Try these out! TutorMing China Expats & Culture Blog

Look after ourselves Ensuring we maintain a healthy lifestyle includes not only the exercise mentioned above but making good meals at home, sleeping well and taking breaks — make one amazing meal per week and make this a tradition across these next few weeks. Cooking with your family or on your own brings a mindful space to your day. Focusing on the process of cooking is mindful, calming and connecting. Include everyone in the house (you know your dog will be waiting for scraps!). Be creative! Engage your children in cooking healthy food. Establish a new family ritual. The family that plays (and eats) together STAYS together.  Check these out! Rasa MalaysiaAll Recipes.

Breathe and be grateful At times when we are surrounded by anxiety, uncertainty and fear, it is hard to sometimes pause and be grateful. Be aware of negative thoughts and don’t let them take hold. The benefits of doing this are well researched, and it is rare in our lives that we are “forced” to stay home. I invite you to make an evening tradition of meeting with your family or friends (either in the home or online) and saying or writing down 3 things for which you are grateful today, be it not facing the traffic nightmare and the commute in and out of work; the cup of tea you actually sat down and savoured with your partner or child or sibling, instead of it going cold as you churned out the work due; the time with your children outside on the grass; or time spent with your fur-baby on your lap.

So let’s stay sane while stuck inside and find creative ways to do so. Please comment, respond and send your tips and tricks in. We want to connect so don’t hesitate to comment on what worked and didn’t work from the above. Let’s add to this and build a TOP 10 from a KEY 5!

Professor Dr. Lianne Britten is a peer reviewed, published academic author and global presenter, clinician, lecturer and curriculum developer. She has expertise in the fields of complex trauma, narrative and indigenous psychology, crisis response (including suicide). She also has decades of experience in the field of educational psychology and anxiety with a specialization in autism spectrum disorder. Professor Dr. Lianne looks forward to using her

Expertise in crises to help bring compassion, and peace in times of distress and chaos. Questions? Reach out to Lianne at: