MENTAL HEALTH IN THE MIDST OF COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in ways more than one. So many of us have found a new reality that includes working from home, home-schooling of children, having less physical interactions or worse, unemployment. These changes in our daily routines can be overwhelming and can have a negative impact on our mental health.
Fortunately, there are numerous things that we can do to look after our mental health.
I have three tips to share with you, and I hope you find them useful.
Tip #1. Mindful Response
Being aware of what’s going on inside you can help calm anxiety and build healthy coping mechanisms. Owning your feelings and having a mastery of your emotions will enable you to decide and make effective actions amid this global crisis. Create moments to recharge by finding the time to pause. Doing a “mindful pause” is easy, and can be done while waiting or while doing routine activities and chores.
I practice mindful pause every morning — I sit in my balcony while having a cup of coffee, and I just appreciate the moment.
I also let my mind to go all over the place with the millions things It thinks I need to achieve during the day. I sat there and let it be with not judgment. I try to be fully present and aware of my own pattern and I take a few deep breaths when needed. I do this regularly, for about ten minutes every day.
Tip #2. Prioritize Self-Care
Your body is your home, so it is fundamental to connect with it. When was the last time you talked to yourself?
Having a self-dialogue and taking the time to appreciate and thank yourself allows you to develop healthy relationships with yourself, as well as with others.
Breathing exercises also help you create deeper connections within, similar to practicing yoga, dancing, or whatever movement that feels good for your body.
Tip #3. Cultivate Relationships
Strong relationships equal to strong mental health. According to Robert Waldinger, an American psychiatrist and Professor at Harvard Medical School, having social connections is better for our health and well-being. Studies have shown that positive relationships lower depression and anxiety, and increase self-esteem and empathy. It is important to note that having higher quality close connections is more important for our well-being than the number of connections.
Invest in meaningful conversations, and always express gratitude and kindness to your social circles. Phone and video calls, emails and text messages are means to cultivate relationships during this pandemic.
Taking good care of ourselves, our family and our friends can help us manage stress effectively. Helping others cope with their stress can also make our community stronger. Let’s prioritize mental health, and develop a simple routine for keeping an eye out on our well-being.