7 WAYS TO BOOST MENTAL HEALTH DURING A PANDEMIC
Mental health is an important aspect of our lives, that we often tend to ignore. In a day, a normal, routine workday, without the added stress of an ongoing pandemic, how many negative thoughts does the average human mind have? On average, about 30,000, give or take a few thousands. Surprising, depressing, but unfortunately true.
Some negativity is a positive sign, it is a good thing, as it helps maintain a balance, and displays normal brain function. However, with an overload of thoughts that you know you don’t want to think, you can cause your mental health to gradually and seriously deteriorate.
By definition, mental health is an overall cognitive, emotional, and behavioural state of well-being. Mental health is affected by every act you perform, every quote you read, everything you experience, and that is what makes mental health awareness all the more important.
The series of lockdowns and the panic that followed when the Coronavirus pandemic befell the world, made mental health all the more difficult to maintain. As people attempt to cope with stressful work-from-homes, pay-cuts, household chores, the fear of contracting the virus, spreading the disease, and other miscellaneous fears, our collective mental health as humanity, began to go for a toss.
Mental health doesn’t just mean the lack of a mental disease or disorder. Mental health during lockdown is all the more pertinent, because mental health does not just mean absence of a problem, but also means absence for the scope of one. This requires being conscious, and making efforts to boost mental health and seriously addressing any issue at the earliest..
Here are 7 ways in which you can improve your mental health during the pandemic-
- Talk- It is often the easiest way, but also the hardest. Most people find it extremely hard to express their feelings openly vocally, mainly due to two reasons. First, comes the fear of being judged for your words, which is absolutely normal. It comes naturally to humans to be wary of their actions and words, in order to be accepted by the others. However, if one overcomes this obstacle, talking personally, especially to family, regarding how you feel, can be extremely helpful. Even if you feel the problem is insignificant,
- Spend Quality Time with Family- With the lockdown in effect, many people find themselves spending most of their in the company of their families. While some would find this extremely satiating, some may not be entirely comfortable with the idea. In order to keep spirits up and reduce tensions between members, ensure that you spend quality time, perhaps in a family movie, a small discussion, or even a simple meal together. They say, “a family that eats together, stays together”. Try implementing it, and it just may do wonders to your mental health.
- Keep yourself occupied- It is normal to feel purposeless and bored due to a lack of schedule, loss of routine, and reduced productive work. You may feel hours go by, with you doing nothing, and feel horribly about it. “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, which also means that you are more likely to accumulate negative thoughts when you tend to be idle. To keep yourself mentally occupied, try listening to music, reading a book, meditating, gardening, or taking up a unique hobby that you’ve perhaps never tried before.
- Keep yourself hydrated and well-ventilated- It is necessary to stay hydrated, as a glass of water not only satisfies your bodily needs and quenches thirst, but also improves brain function. In the lockdown, it is easy to stay put in a stuffy and closed room, with just an air conditioner or ceiling fan for company. However, it is equally essential for you to make sure that you breathe fresh air, and not constantly recirculating draught.
- Reinforce- When a negative thought crosses your mind, simply reinforce your positivity by thinking the opposite, and telling yourself that this will pass. It is normal to feel helpless and scared, not to mention uncertain and fearful of the future. But reinforcement helps you overcome these. When you miss those places you could visit, those things you do, simply paint a mental picture of you doing those things again, in the near future. Create positive visuals in your mind. This not only helps improve memory, imagination, and boost cognition, but also greatly impacts your mood.
- Eat right- They say, "You are what you eat." If you are lunging for that extra pack of chips or additional bag of biscuits again, you’re not alone. Hunger pangs strike harder during these trying times, and it is only easier giving in to them when your mental health is in ill balance. However, with small attempts, you can tide over these urges. Instead, try cooking something healthy and tasty, that will also keep you full for longer, helping you focus on other tasks and reducing the frequency of binging on your snacks.
- Face your fears- This does not mean that you go out on the streets and face Covid-19, because that would definitely undo everyone’s efforts, including yours. But when you are overwhelmed in fear of contracting the virus, or of any uncertain situation you happen to be going through in life, face such fears and tell yourself that this fear is unfounded. It is not impossible to overcome, and you are capable enough to. This mental reassurance and affirmation can help you maintain the psychological state of mind needed to actually negate such fears.
Be it a pandemic, or its aftermath, it is vital to maintain good mental health. “A sound mind in a sound body” is capable of wondrous things, Mental health awareness is the first step towards mental well-being.