If there is one thing we are currently learning from this pandemic is the importance of mental health care. In this time of uncertainty and new changes, a shipload of mixed emotions emerged, which were often negative. There are feelings of fear, depression, boredom, anger and much more that reign within us. During these times, we need to take better care of our sanity.
Here are 12 mental health tips for you and me:
1. Tell yourself that it’s okay to be wrong
In an extreme stressful situation like this, it is okay to acknowledge the fact that we are not okay and it is okay to be not okay. Denying the dilemma we all face can only unhealthily suppress the bottled negative emotions we have within and cause more problems. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, sleep, and take things slowly. Ignoring our negative emotions only encourages toxic positivity, which doesn’t help at all. It would also be very beneficial if you passed your feelings on to someone you trust or a psychologist.
2. Enjoy healthy activities that you enjoy and that you find relaxing
Healthy activities such as reading, exercising, eating healthy foods, napping, praying, and spending time with family can promote positive mental health during this time. Find a habit that you enjoy and use this time to immerse yourself in these activities.
3. Lower expectations
Lower expectations with yourself and family members at home. While we have the option to stay home often, which leaves us more time to ourselves, take a break by not judging yourself like you’re missing out on a workout today. The same goes for your spouse, children, and other family members at home. We can all get by nowadays. You don’t need to berate your spouse for forgetting to take out the trash or if she’s been getting more impatient with the kids lately. Be more understanding when your children act more these days because being in the house can be too restrictive for their hyperactive energies. Besides, Shakespeare once said: “Expectations are the root of all heartbreak. “ So lower your expectations to avoid, or at least reduce, heart pain and emotional distress.
4th Exercise compassion for yourself and others
Like # 3, practice more compassion for yourself and others. Forgive yourself if you screw it up and don’t overburden yourself. Be kinder to everyone. What is happening around us is the call to return to goodness. We all need to learn to be kind to one another and to ourselves. There is a study that random kind actions can increase happiness levels. Even with social distancing, we can perform random kind actions in our own way, digitally reaching out to those in need of encouragement, donating to those in need, and offering services like free zoom lectures or courses on our subject. I know of a marketing agency that offers free video styling to business owners who they know are struggling with this pandemic.
5. Pay attention to your social media consumption
Being on social media or watching / reading the news these days can cause more anxiety. As a result, I’ve been leaving most of my social media accounts lately. Another study suggested that reducing social media consumption can also increase happiness. One tip if you are still not ready to delete your social media is to focus on facts rather than fear when consuming social media. We can focus our attention on the positive aspects we see on social media. There’s a cool hashtag on Twitter called #covidkindness for some inspiration.
Another mental health tip that you would benefit from now and even after 19 is meditation. Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train alertness and awareness and to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state to reach. There are several ways to meditate. A good one is that Loving kindness meditation. Think of someone you love or care deeply about and keep repeating the mantra: “May you be happy May you be healthy“. You can also try other meditation apps like Quiet, Headspace or Simple habit. For me, I prefer to associate it with my faith. As a Catholic, I use the Catholic meditation app called Saints.
7th Practice physical distance, but don’t be socially distant
Just because we practice physical distance does not mean that we will become a hermit and avoid any contact with anyone outside our home at all costs. The connection with others is even more important these days. We need to reach our parents, siblings, relatives, and close friends. Take the time to review them. Create zoom parties. I even saw a farewell party hosted through a Zoom meeting for a colleague who is going to move to another company. Everyone gets dressed, everyone has wine glasses to toast and a nice meal in every house. We all need this feeling of togetherness, even though we are not physically together, in order to overcome the circumstance we are all in right now. This is the best time to reconnect with long-lost friends.
8th. Appreciate the wealth of time
One of the sad effects of this outbreak is the cuts, unemployment and business losses. I have known some people who have been laid off from work and closed some of my friends’ businesses. I encourage those who experience this to do # 1. Cry, get angry, let yourself go, lay down on the couch and watch the Netflix show. Do what you have to do to cope with these troubled times. Learn to use the gift of time. We have more time to ourselves. This abundance of time gives us the time to hibernate, to rest, to experiment with new healthy activities that we couldn’t try, to realign with our passion, and to make strategic plans for what we want to do when we do get back on your feet and live life slowly. The advantage of being too rich in time is that it sometimes provides the clarity that you often couldn’t get in a fast paced life.
9. Write a diary
Writing down your free flowing thoughts can be therapeutic. Many insights can emerge from this practice. Leave out all of your fears, sadness, hope, and plans on one piece of paper. It has many benefits for many people.
10. Move your body
Find an exercise that you enjoy. You can even just take a stroll around the house or go go dancing to your favorite music in your house. When you move your body, endorphins can be released which act on the opiate receptors in our brain, which can lead to a happy mood.
11. Create a consistent routine
In this scenario, if you are feeling uncomfortable, and particularly suffering from anxiety, creating a consistent routine will help. Despite the uncertainty that prevails around the world, a sense of control and constancy can have calming and calming effects. Design yourself energizing morning and relaxing evening rituals for yourself. This can also be especially helpful for your children as you create morning and evening rituals that they will look forward to. Have a constant wake and sleep time and this will help regulate your sleep. There are many people suffering from insomnia these days. Other than that, it is best to practice good sleep hygiene by having a convenient room atmosphere to sleep in, no caffeine after 6 p.m., and no cell phone 2 hours before bed.
12th Practice gratitude
Finally, writing down a gratitude list every day can improve mental well-being and increase happiness. By focusing on the things we are blessed for, we can transform our brains into a more positive mindset. We get a sense of appreciation and abundance when we see how much more we need to be thankful.
Professional tip for frontliners::
Here are bonus tips for frontliners like me. If you’re overwhelmed and discouraged, try the following:
- Take a 1 minute break
- Then take 3 slow, conscious breaths
- You can also change your mind about what you do and what you contribute to the community
I hope these tips can help you navigate this pandemic. Take care everyone!
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