Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Tough Times

The world, as we've always known, has now changed. 'COVID-19,' 'quarantine,' 'lockdown' are words that have suddenly become part of our everyday vocabulary. This insanely unpredictable time also brings with it the realization that a lot of things are beyond our control at the moment.

As this pandemic continues to grow, so does our anxiety. Distanced from our familiar routines, we are now closer to our new insecurities. People everywhere are trying to cope with this sudden lockdown. We are staying in more; we are doing more; we are distressed more.

Public health experts are worried because while they agree that self-isolation and social distancing during this time is extremely important, they're also concerned about the toll it is taking on our mental health and well-being.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations; some of the common reactions include:

  • Fear and worry about the health of your loved ones and yourself
  • Changes in eating, sleeping, or exercising patterns
  • Lack of focus
  • Fear of the worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other medication

In challenging situations like these, taking good care of our mental health is probably the most important thing we can do. It is necessary to understand that worrying is the problem, not the solution. Here are a few tips you can follow to regain control of your worried mind.

 

Meditate

 

Numerous studies have proven the benefits of meditation. A few minutes of practice every day can help to calm fear-based thoughts. If you are new to meditation, then download an app or use an online video to help guide you through the process.

There are many options and techniques available online, and you definitely find one that can align with your thoughts. Evidence states that meditation can improve –

  • heart health and mental health
  • boost immune response
  • lower stress
  • decrease blood pressure
  • improve healthy ageing of cells, and much more

The best part about meditation is that you don't need to sit for hours, just spare a few minutes every day and feel the difference.

 

Remember the lessons learnt; pass them on

 

Don't forget the past. By recalling the strengths of your past, you can better cope with the struggles of today. It is important to remember, for your mental well being that like the many tough times you've faced and overcome, this too shall pass.

Speak to someone younger, offer them advice, tell them stories of endurance and hope. It'll help them also cope and be reassured of the same.

 

Listen to music

 

Music is known to be an effective treatment to reduce depression and anxiety in patients who have dementia, stroke, and other neurological conditions. Music is more than just entertainment.

Yes, it has the power to inspire and entertain, but it also has powerful psychological effects that can improve your mental health and general well-being. Incorporating music into your everyday life will make you feel more motivated, happy, and relaxed.

 

Exercise

 

The benefits of exercise are plentiful. It is beneficial, not only for your physical health but also very important for your mental health. Exercise stimulates chemicals, like endorphins and serotonin in your brain that help improve your mood and helps you stay calm during stressful situations.

Find a routine that you follow from the confines of your home. Maybe a yoga session or some freehand exercises or perhaps even a fun dance video that the whole family might enjoy following.

 

Practice Gratitude

 

According to UCLA's Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain and makes us healthier and happier. Practicing a daily recognition of gratitude helps to create an environment of positive emotions and a positive mental state.

To focus on gratitude, take a minute to reflect on a few things for which you are grateful. Paired with a few deep breaths, when you start taking notice of the positive things in your life, you get one step closer to achieving a calmer mind and body.

Stressful situations can test your strength, for sure. Do what works for you to take care of your mental health and stay positive. Now more than ever is the time to understand how important it is to build resilience and find strategies to cope with this stress. Speak to friends and stay connected with your loved ones, read books, watch movies, cook or find a new hobby; they are all excellent stress busters and great for the mind. This period of unrest, too, will soon have a turnaround, and our mental health then should be at its best to greet it.

Let's use the new words from our vocabulary not to bring down our mood but instead to lockdown, and quarantine our negative thoughts. As they say, change is the only constant in life. And since this change is all around us, it's essential to embrace it for us to take the next step forward.

May you be safe. May you feel loved. May you have hope knowing that better days are ahead!